Calendar Bird for March – Mute Swan

Mute swans are widespread in the UK with a breeding population around 6,400 pairs which is swollen to over 70,000 birds by winter visitors. They are native to countries from northern Africa to the far north of Europe. Mute swans make some noises described as grunting and hissing but compared to the less common whooper and Bewick’s swans they are more or less mute.

Top: Pictures from the two editions of Beeston Birdman’s wildlife calendar. Middle: Pair bonding, note the romantic heart shape formed as the put their heads together and adult displaying with wings held high. Bottom: Cygnets at Highfields and coming in to ‘land’ on the water. In flight their powerful wings make a very distictive noise.

The male and the female birds, the cob and pen, usually attempt to mate for life, although it is not true to say that if one of the birds were to die the other would necessarily pine away. It is possible for an adult bird to find an alternative mate.  The nest is a huge mound of material, normally dried grasses and assorted vegetation, sticks and rushes, constructed at the water’s edge. The nest is built by the female, while the male supplies the materials.  (Source: RSPB website)

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