Give it up for the Maryland DNR

Posted June 8th, 2009 by kcorliss. Comments (4).

Finally a decision that makes perfect sense from a governmental body refusing to bend over for the less informed.

This AP story (via the Baltimore Sun) says:

Maryland wildlife officials said Monday that they will continue efforts to eradicate the beautiful but destructive mute swan.

(photo by Adrian Pingstone)

Folks, this is the right thing to do. If you care at all for our native birds then you should be heavily in favor of this. The mute swans are extremely aggressive to the point of killing rival waterfowl. More to the point, they are invaders, i.e. they don’t belong here.

Although the population of the invasive bird in Maryland has dwindled from 4,000 to about 500, the state panel recommended that they be eliminated entirely to protect wetlands and endangered native birds.

Good job Maryland.

Animal rights activists have opposed killing the birds.

Any surprise there?

4 Responses to “Give it up for the Maryland DNR”

  1. Wetlands saver

    Go to and bring up the paper
    on mute swans, recently appearing in the Canadian
    Society of Ornithologist’s publication. You will amazed at what we didn’t know until now, all documented with a long bibliographer which needs a bit of editing, but that was not the writer’s fault, it was the editor. prepare to be educated.

  2. kcorliss

    Dear Wetlands saver,

    I’ll try to be brief.

    First, while there are likely cases of mute swans showing up naturally in the US, those cases are rare and brief. The vast majority of birds seen today are introductions or progeny of introductions. And that is unnatural.

    Second, do you really think I can get unbiased, scientific words from a website called “save the mute swans?” This is obviously an advocacy group.

    Try reading stuff like this:


  3. Wetlands saver

    Keith, you are doing what someone a while ago, on this very site admonished as being, well, not very scientific. If you read the swan site, you will see it is factual material, not wringing hands and the material is backed up by professors from universities, museums, Audubon himself. Urban legends are not only spread in cities, guys. We are a relatively new country and there wasn’t a strong calling for ornithologists until Spencer Fullerton Baird, Elliott Coues,followed by Forebush, etc. created agencies to compile information and actually beleive it and learn from it. I read that site and found the mute swans are in seventy countries, none of which seem to have a problem with the species. I called the U.N.Environmental Program, called the British Museum, looked up “mute swans in Kamchatka,” because I have an open mind, which is what science is and junk science is not. No one is asking you to throw out your feelings against the swans, but keep your mind open for new ideas,
    because some day you may need to justify something or someone that has been maligned.
    Science changes every day of every year and you now have a way to keep up and get beyond past notions that have been proved wrong. Did you read it, really?

  4. kcorliss

    Thanks for your comments once again. And I’ll admit to some bias with regard to non-native birds–which I still consider most, if not all, mute swan populations in the US to be. I’m a huge fan of natural systems.

    Yes, I believe mute swans have shown up on this continent historically. I’ll give you that. But they’ve been exclusively travelers. To my knowledge no wild mute swans have established themselves here.

    With that in mind, I’m more than ready to accept mute swans which show up naturally. I just see very little evidence of such.

    If and when that occurs and the birds establish themselves as self-sustaining populations, I will applaud it. But I’ll also welcome a hunting season on the birds along with other waterfowl.

    I agree that scientific thought changes daily. It should. It shows growth in our collective knowledge.

    You changed my mind. After reading (yes, I read some studies) more on the mute swan, I’m ready to admit that I was likely wrong with regard to my statements of aggressive behaviors and exclusion of other birds. Thank you for pointing that out.

    Bottom line: I’m willing and ready to accept mute swan populations as not a large threat to our native avifauna. But I want them to arrive on their own. There are just too many hobbyists and resorts and such raising these birds to believe the east coast populations are naturally derived.