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Name: Jim
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Question:
Hi...This AM my wife and I were returning for our morning kayak ride around Shavehead Lake, near Union, Michigan. What happened was not fun to see. One pair of swans, with 3 baby swans, started fighting with two babyless, chickless swans. I really do not know who attached who, but they went at it with some real intent to cause harm. They chased each other under our pier, swam under. They flew, ran, swam across the lake and faught all they way. One swan escaped by jumping out of the water up onto the pier.....Is this normal? What part should WE, as humans play in this? Do I try and get in there and protect the swan getting killed? Will they actually kill each other, or are they just establishing dominance? These are beautiful birds about which we know nothing. Can you help me with some of my questions.


Replies:
Swans are famous for aggressive behavior, both toward other swans and other birds. Mute swans have been kept in some ponds for generations, in an attempt to drive away geese and other unwanted birds. Almost always it is better to not interfere, it is unlikely an adult swan would be able to kill another adult, although young are sometimes vulnerable. Yes, it is usually about dominance.

J. Elliott


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