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Name: Judith
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Question:
Observing a group of about 60 mute swans on the River Avon south of Salisbury, England, there were two groups ( 2 and 3) of relatively grown cygnets who were feeding and seemed to be guarded by a sentry swam with other swans in charge of keeping the group of adults from encroaching on the young ones' feeding places. Do swans operate in this kind of organized society in what seemed a sophisticated form of behavior?


Replies:
I am no swan specialist, but various waterfowl have been known to guard each others young while walking, feeding, swimming, etc. In effect, this is like group baby sitting so the other adults can feed or rest while their young are guarded, then they will guard the young so the previously guarding adults can relax.

Grace Fields


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