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Jun 8, 2011

British Columbia swans & Cygnets

My old friend, Don Flucker, who left eastern Canada many years ago, for the splendour of British Columbia, sent along this pretty photo of wild Mute Swans and their 2011 cygnets that made their nest a few feet from Don's home, on a neighbour's dock.   Don's place is the Fraser River Delta, south of Vancouver, and he lives in a floating house at Ladner.   The swans are part of a group of about 24 that originated from a pair imported from England in the 1970s.  In Ontario, the feral Mute Swan population has gone through the roof in recent years.   Conservative estimates at this time place the population of the Atlantic Coast and Great Lakes watershed at 25,000 birds.   The population in Ontario alone is expected to reach 30,000 in a few years.   These numbers are creating huge problems for other waterfowl and the habitats they live in.   The swans are taking over and because they have virtually no natural predators, they can displace other waterfowl at will.   And although they are an imported species to Canada, they have protection under the Migratory Bird Act, a status that is being challenged.   There are suggestions that Mute Swans should hunted as many other species are.   I can hear the outcry now.   I see no happy outcome for this tale in the near future.   Meanwhile, we can enjoy them while we can, but none of us should introduce them to our local ponds and waterways.   Please comment if you wish.

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