A new visitor showed up at Hagerman NWR last week, on Monday, March 22, to be exact. Since its arrival the Mute Swan has become the "most photographed" subject at the refuge.
Mute swans, we learned, do not really live up to their name, as they are capable of hissing and grunting sounds. Introduced from Eurasia, they are said to be very aggressive birds and will displace wild waterfowl, according to The National Audubon Society The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior (Illus. David Allen Sibley) http://www.librarything.com/author/sibleydavidallen.
The Bird Check List for the Refuge lists Mute Swans as "Exotic" and notes they may be seen Fall, Winter and Spring. Tundra Swans are listed as "Accidental", having been seen only once or twice, and Fall and Winter are seasons noted for that species.Where did the swan come from, we wonder. Rick Cantu, Assistant Refuge Manager says they are usually found in parks and zoos? Or maybe it hissed one too many times on someone's private pond? Will it stay, or will it fly away in search of a mate? In the meantime, enjoy the photo-op! (Most days the swan has been visible from Wildlife Drive.)
For more information about Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, visit http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/texas/hagerman/index.html and for information about programs and activities at the Refuge, see http://www.friendsofhagerman.com/.
Photo - Mute Swan, by Rick Cantu