On Swan Lake

This gallery contains 2 photos. Far easier to distinguish than Tundra Swans and Trumpeter Swans by virtue of their knobs and bright orange bills, a beautiful pair of Mute Swans gazes into my lens as they leisurely ply the waters of Lost Lagoon at Stanley Park. Swans may be a symbol of elegance, beauty, and love for many, but in the case of Mute Swans, it’s an ironic and somewhat bittersweet symbol. Photographed on July 14.

Mute Swans2015 is the first year I’ve seen any species of swan in the wild.
f/8, 1/400mm, 150-500mm telephoto lens, 500mm, ISO 125

Brought over to Canada to give character to estates, gardens, and golf courses, the reputations of these Eurasian expats soon soured because of their (aggressive) behaviour, which threatened native habitats and wildlife; long lifespans (20+ years in the wild); and ability to increase their numbers quickly. In BC, the population is in decline and numbers fewer than 100 individuals; but in Ontario, the Mute Swan population is on the rise (over 3,000 individuals). Their pinion tendons are cut, so they cannot fly away. In Stanley Park, their eggs are also addled (and have been, for the past 5 years). Statistics and facts have been sourced from Environment Canada’s Mute Swan: A Non-native, Invasive Species in Canada Study and The Vancouver Sun article “Stanley Park ‘swan whisperer’ cares for birds (updated with video)”.

Mute SwansHandfed twice a day, Lost Lagoon’s Mute Swans are well accustomed to the sight of humans.
f/9, 1/500mm, 150-500mm telephoto lens, 313mm, ISO 100

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30 thoughts on “On Swan Lake

    • I didn’t realize they couldn’t fly either, until I saw one rather irate Mute Swan chasing a Canada Goose in the water earlier this year (before this encounter) … and then read up on the history and introduction of Mute Swans in Canada.


  1. My older son, the one studying to be an ecologist, will be happy to hear that the numbers in BC are declining. It’s not so much the introduction of a non-native species (though that has rarely ended well) but that the non-native often out-compete the native and take over, and can lead to the extirpation of the native species whose niches the invasive now occupies. As well, he makes a point that there is almost always a native equivalent that is just as good.

    Yeah, he’s a fun one to hang around. LOL!

    Actually, he is. I learn so much from him. And that should be a dream of all parents–that their offspring will be far smarter than they are! 😀

    Be that as it may, your photos are, as always, absolutely stunning!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely photos. It’s sad they have to prevent them from flying, though. If anyone wants to see Canadian Geese, come to NC. The geese migrated here about a decade ago and for the most part, have stayed! Too lazy to fly home, I guess, especially when the winters here are mild and the summers warm.

    Liked by 1 person

Your comments are like chocolate for my soul ... I can never get enough of them! Bonus brownie points for witty comments! I love a good turn of phrase. :)

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