07/07/10 Prince of Darkness

Posted: July 7, 2010 in Uncategorized

I’d like to introduce you to the “Prince of Darkness”.  He and the “Princess” are mute swans and return each spring to nest on the estuary behind our townhouse.  The Prince turns to the dark side as soon as the female begins to sit on her eggs.  The male becomes very aggressive and clears out all the geese and other waterfowl.  He also tries to clear me out, sometimes chasing me up on land into my garage.  My kayaking stops the minute the Prince starts patrolling.

Princess usually has 6-8 cygnets each year.  Usually, only a few survive due to the many snapping turtles in the estuary.  This year the Princess had eight little ones and three are remaining at the moment.

Although they are quite beautiful, mute swans are not native to this country and have had a negative effect on the environment.  They chase all the indigenous waterfowl, depriving them of food and nesting areas.  The raised wings are signs of aggression.

The knob on the beak is characteristic of the mute swan.

Each winter hundreds of mute swans gather on the Barnegat Bay off Seaside.

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