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Black Swans with wild swans

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Old Thursday 1st January 2004, 16:20   #1
Stephen Dunstan
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Black Swans with wild swans

Forgive the slightly quirky nature of this one but I would like second opinions if possible.

For the last few days my local Whooper flock (c90 birds) has been joined by a handful of Bewick's and a Black Swan. Now the point is that this is about the fourth time in recent years I have seen Black Swans with wild swans on the Fylde in recent years. I would like to think it is the same bird, but there were two one year which rather spoils that.

What I would like to know is does anybody have any theories about why this should occur so frequently. My intuitive thought is that Black Swans would associate with Mute Swans in situations where there is a supply of free food, and this certainly happens also especially in the summer. Could it be that because Mute Swans are aggressive and territorial that Black Swans will join up with field feeding wild swans because they are more accepting?

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Old Thursday 1st January 2004, 16:39   #2
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I think it's just swans' tendency to flock outside the breeding season. Even Mute Swans flock, albeit not to the same extent as Bewick'ses and Whoopers (being non-migratory they can afford to maintain looser groupings).

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Old Thursday 1st January 2004, 16:49   #3
Michael Frankis
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Maybe it proves that Bewick's Swans migrate here by way of Australia??



Gotta agree with Jason though. Just natural flocking.
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Old Thursday 1st January 2004, 16:53   #4
Stephen Dunstan
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And another thing as Jason has sort of brought it up - what is the correct plural of Bewick's. Is it still Bewick's?

Obviously I mean when the word swan isn't used as well!

Stephen.
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Old Thursday 1st January 2004, 16:58   #5
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Indeed, Stephen! I'm sure Scampo will know, if no one else.

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Old Thursday 1st January 2004, 17:25   #6
Andrew
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I think the correct plural would be Bewick's Swans.
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Old Thursday 1st January 2004, 17:27   #7
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Yes, Andrew, but we were wondering what the plural should be when you don't want to use the word "swan".

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Old Thursday 1st January 2004, 17:41   #8
Andrew Whitehouse
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I saw four Black Swans today along the Nene Valley around Northampton. The only other swans to tag along with were Mutes, although aside from one pair, the Blacks remained separate from each other. I know when Black Swans turn up in the east of Scotland it's often suggested that they have come from feral populations on the continent (around Denmark?). Maybe feral birds in that part of the world get in with flocks of Whooper or Bewick's whilst these migrate through and carry on to Britain. The species they end up with perhaps depends on the origin of your Black Swan.
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Old Thursday 1st January 2004, 18:04   #9
Stephen Dunstan
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Andrew,

That's an interesting theory, thanks.

One thing I can say is that a flock of Whoopers in flight with the striking black and white of a flying Black Swan is quite a sight.

Stephen.
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Old Thursday 1st January 2004, 19:28   #10
Colin
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When you have more than one Bewick's then use the word Tundras
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Old Thursday 1st January 2004, 19:36   #11
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Stephen,your story is interesting.2 years ago,there were 2 Black swans in the harbour here at haverigg,We were on holiday at the time.I had never seen a Black swan before,could not find it in the bird guide,but on chatting to a guy in Sherwood forest,he assured me it was a Black swan and that they originally were kept as ornamental birds so to speak,in walled gardens,having been imported from abroad a century ago,or more.Is this true?.I have seen them only once here,since then,and on the second occasion there was only the 1 swan.On re reading,walled garden means ornamental lake etc.
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Old Thursday 1st January 2004, 19:38   #12
Brian Stone
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Up to six Black Swans associated with the Whoopers and Bewick's's's' on the Nene Washes last winter. Interestingly they left at the same time as the yellow-bills last spring and one was then reported with Whoopers in Iceland!
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Old Thursday 1st January 2004, 19:39   #13
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Yes, Christine, they are "introduced" birds.

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Old Thursday 1st January 2004, 19:43   #14
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Thanks,Jason.
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Old Thursday 1st January 2004, 20:41   #15
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. . . . from Australia

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Old Thursday 1st January 2004, 22:09   #16
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Thanks everyone,

I always wondered if a Black Swan had ever ended up in Iceland on the back of this trait, so it is interesting to know that it has happened at least once.

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Old Friday 2nd January 2004, 10:35   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Dunstan
Thanks everyone,

I always wondered if a Black Swan had ever ended up in Iceland on the back of this trait, so it is interesting to know that it has happened at least once.

Stephen.
Black Swans have turned up regularly with Whooper Swans in south-east Iceland in recent years. There were at least four this summer and one is still present. It's thought likely that they may attempt to breed in the near future.

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Old Friday 2nd January 2004, 10:41   #18
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Edward,

Thanks for this, maybe it's me but I find this whole thing fascinating.

I take it that Black Swans aren't kept in captivity in Iceland.

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Old Friday 2nd January 2004, 10:53   #19
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Hi Steven,

No wildfowl of any kind (except farmyard freaks) is kept in captivity in Iceland so when things like Mandarins, Bar-headed Geese turn up we know they must come from somewhere else. The Black Swans of course "come from" the UK and Ireland which is where most of our Whoopers overwinter.

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Old Friday 2nd January 2004, 20:28   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Frankis
. . . . from Australia

Michael
That is interesting,as I always thought of them as birds which would be kept by the aristocracy of France and Italy.
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Old Sunday 29th May 2005, 16:24   #21
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I have been following this thread on Black Swans . . . I find it very interesting, in that the 'net' information available suggest that Black Swans don't migrate!! Yet, here are several sightings of Black Swans in Bwick's (In England???).

I am in Tampa, Florida,US and, at this time, considering purchase a couple of Black Swans for a pond behind my home. In the US, or at least in Florida, all Swans must be 'pinioned' (I think that is correct). Also, a license is required to own them!
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Old Sunday 29th May 2005, 16:57   #22
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I saw a Black Swan feeding with a flock of 45 Mute Swans at East Chevington last Friday, 20th May.
Just a shame I couldn't tick it!!!

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Old Monday 30th May 2005, 13:20   #23
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I have read recently that Black Swans have been known to mate with Mute Swans in captivity but that the off spring are thought to be infertile. Does anyone know if there are records of this occuring in the wild?
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Old Monday 30th May 2005, 14:26   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianfm
I have read recently that Black Swans have been known to mate with Mute Swans in captivity but that the off spring are thought to be infertile. Does anyone know if there are records of this occuring in the wild?
Black and white swans hybridising? Bit of a grey area...
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Old Monday 30th May 2005, 14:36   #25
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But just yesterday, on the net, someone was selling, GRAY Swans, with pic . . . and these were not young Blacks. What is a GRAY Swan?? . . . mutant?
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