Ask the Swan Specialist
Date: 18 October 2016
1. The only reliable means to determine gender is to conduct DNA sequencing. This is a scientific method in which a feather contains DNA material is removed and submitted to a licensed veterinary DNA lab.
Usually a licensed veterinarian procures the feather to insure that genetic material is present. Again, if these are wild swans this will be difficult because the swans may not be readily captured and because of the government's killing program, may require the veterinarian or wildlife rehabber to kill the swans once captured.
2. The only two reasons that the young bird is being shunned is that it is either sick or injured or the young bird is the oldest and same gender as the remaining adult swan. The same gendered swan can be seen as competition with the adult parent.
3.The reason that federal and state wildlife officials want to eradicate Mute Swans is that they want to open habitat, now and for centuries inhabited by Mute Swans so that the larger Trumpeter Swans can be introduced for Trophy Waterfowl hunting purposes. Yes, taxpayers are paying for this killing and introduction program for less than 1% of the population that hunts. Additionally, a Michigan DNR officials admitted that monies were running out and the program is unsustainable. So, a bigger question would be why they insist on continuing the practice. The Regal Swan