Ask the Swan Specialist
Date: 13 August 2017
Usually, it is the parents that teach the young birds how to fly. However, if the cygnets are not pinioned (the flight portion of one wing amputated or the feathers are not clipped), the cygnets may learn on their own. As the cygnets swim across the water or run from the land and start flapping their wings, they may get enough lift to start flight. Eventually, they will learn how to balance themselves, get higher in flight and land.
If your state is one of many that is killing the Mute Swans in order to bring in the larger Trumpeter Swans for Trophy Waterfowl hunting, the cygnets may be required by law to be pinioned like the parents. Some states will kill the birds as they take flight (again to open habitat for introduction of another larger species for hunting purposes). If this is the case with your state, the cygnets will be safer by being pinioned or clipped. However, the pinioning procedure must be conducted at 1-3 weeks of age, otherwise the young birds must be anesthetized which can be very difficult for them.
This pinioning produces another problem as once the cygnets are pinioned, they can only survive in a captive setting. You will need to find another safe secure home for them as the parents will compete for the habitat and chase them once they are 8-12 months of age in preparation for the next breeding season.
If your lake is extremely large and free from predators, then the swans may be able to work it out among themselves and the cygnets can establish their own territory on the lake. However, each pair produces 1-8 cygnets a year and eventually, your lake will not be able to support all of them and the need to find safe homes will be the result. The Regal Swan
Messages In This Thread
- Will baby swans, children of parents with wings clipped, ever fly -- Janice -- 12 August 2017
- Re: Will baby swans, children of parents with wings clipped, ever fly -- The Regal Swan -- 13 August 2017