Swan Song?

Friday, January 17, 2014

Swan Song?

It's a good thing Budd and Gerry Schulberg never lived to see this headline:

State eyes killing or capturing all mute swans

Swan Watch

...they co-authored (Gerry did the color and black & white photography) the de­lightful 1975 volume "Swan Watch" based on their neighbors on Aspatuck Creek, "Loh" and "Grin," a pair of Cygnus olor, which Buddy considered "the most regal of birds."

And now, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has released a Draft Mute Swan Management Plan outlining a program "to eliminate free-ranging mute swans from New York by 2025."

Describing the 20-25 pound adult birds with a wing span of nearly seven feet as...

"...a non-native, invasive species, brought to North America from Eurasia for ornamental purposes in the late 1800s."

...the aesthetics are now apparently outweighed by other considerations, including:

"They eat a variety of plant species and consume about 4-8 pounds of vegetation daily, sometimes uprooting plants completely. Often, adult swans will uproot more plants than they actually consume. Submerged aquatic vegetation plays an important role in aquatic eco­sys­tems by providing both food and cover to a variety of vertebrate and invertebrate species. In turn, many species (e.g., fish) rely on animals that live in SAV beds for food. Thus, loss of SAV caused by large flocks of feeding swans could have a detrimental impact on aquatic ecosystems."

Also cited is the "potential hazards to aviation," somehow equating the local swans with the gooney birds of Guam and Midway islands.

The DEC also notes that the great majority of the state's 2200 mute swans are found on Long Island and in the lower Hudson Valley.

Make no mistake, this is a planned eradication... by shooting, poisoning and sterilization... of the mute swans.

For my part I think the swans and cygnets... however many escape the maws of the toropes... of Cranberry Marsh and Aspatuck Creek are an asset and I would vociferously op­pose any plan to eliminate them from the wild.

Looking for a population to reduce, DEC? How 'bout you start with the damn'd deer!


1. Pat Frost said...

I am strongly opposed to killing swans. Cranberry is my favorite spot to take photos at least once a week. When the cygnets come, it's even better. How about we learn to get along with nature instead of immediately killing.

My assumption is that you're referencing Cranberry Marsh, and that is a wondrous place to relax and to observe nature... been doing it since I was in single digits... skated on it a couple of times over the decades. Been hissed at by a swan or two as well... had a healthy respect for them even since my mom told me about the man who was beaten to death by one near their house in Sequams Colony in West Islip was I was still an infant.

There's probably more to this Draft DEC Report than meets the eye... some developer somewhere on Long Island or in the Hudson Valley is being inconvenienced by the swans.
– Dean

2. EastEnd68 said...

Who was Gerry Schulberg?

She was the actress Geraldine Brooks, the third of Budd's four wives.

3. Lorelei said...

Or the Canadian geese....

Your position is unclear, but there is a Canadian geese season in New York State.

4. Spencer Fink said...

Canada Goose season. Is this their swan song?

Clearly I'm missing something here... I wrote about a State-recommended mute swan-ocide, and now suddenly you and Loreli are talkin' Canadian Canada geese? Why? Because some Seniors in Connecticut were terrorized by a lone Canadian Canada goose earlier this month?

5. Spencer Fink said...

I believe there is no such thing as a Canadian Goose or Canadian Geese they are Canada Geese. That's all, enjoy the games.

Goodness! I've learned something new! Thanks, Spence... corrections made and noted!
– Dean

6. Lorelei said...

I like swans more than Canada geese. Canada geese seem to me to be more of a nuisance. I don't know about any seniors terrorized by a Canada goose.

  1. Me, too.
  2. They certainly are... they can make a football or soccer field unplayable!
  3. Nor I, but I provided a link to just such a report just across the Sound.

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