Ask the Swan Specialist

Father swan tries to drown its own cygnet
By:Brian <Show E-Mail>
Date: 13 June 2009

This week I was watching a mom and dad swan and their 2 cygnets in the canal next to my folks home in Indian River Michigan. They have been there ever since the cygnets were born. My mom siad there were 7 cygnets but they are down to only 2 now. As I was glancing out the window early this morning the Male swan suddenly shoved one of the cygnets under water and got on top of it and kept paddling to hold it under. I was shocked! I ran outside and yelled and waved my arms trying to stop it but it just hissed and kept holding the little one under. Itwas only 10 feet from the shore so I threw a stick at it and it swam about 50 feet away. (the female and the other cygnet had already casually swam away just after the attack had begun)

I could see the cygnet about a foot below the surface of the water and it appeared to not be moving. At first I was afraid to go in after it because the parents were so close and swans can be very agressive. I guess the cygnet had been under water between 3 or 4 minutes when I just couldn't stand it any longer. I jumped in and reached under and grabbed it by the neck and pulled it to the surface. As I did this I could feel weeds that had entangled the little fellow snapping as I yanked him to the surface. Once above the surface he almost immediately came to and started swimming. The male was coming toward me so I made a quick exit from the canal. He regrouped with the cygnet and the female and the other cygnet and they all swam off together. I watched them closely for a few hours until I had to go home and they acted completely normal.

I'm still worried about the cygnets. It really looked like that male was trying to kill his own baby. Is this common behavior for swans?

Messages In This Thread

Father swan tries to drown its own cygnet -- Brian -- 13 June 2009
Re: Father swan tries to drown its own cygnet -- The Regal Swan -- 14 June 2009
Re: Father swan tries to drown its own cygnet -- Linda Miller -- 15 June 2009
Re: Father swan tries to drown its own cygnet -- The Regal Swan -- 15 June 2009