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Food habits of mute swans in the Chesapeake Bay

January 1, 2004

Unlike the tundra swan (Cygnus columbianus) that migrate to the Bay for the winter, the mute swan (Cygnus olor) is a year long resident and therefore has raised concerns among research managers over reports of conflicts with nesting native water birds and the consumption of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV). Although data on the reduction of SAV by nesting mute swans and their offspring during the spring and summer are limited, food-habits data show that mute swans rely heavily on SAV during these months. Analyses of the gullet and gizzard of mute swans indicate that widgeon grass (Ruppia maritima) and eelgrass (Zostera marina) were the most important food items to mute swans during the winter and spring. Other organisms were eaten by mute swans, but represent small percentages of food. Corn (Zea mays) fed to the swans by Bay residents in late winter probably supplements their limited vegetative food resources at that time of year.

Publication Year 2004
Title Food habits of mute swans in the Chesapeake Bay
Authors M. C. Perry, P.C. Osenton, E.J.R. Lohnes
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Index ID 5211269
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Patuxent Wildlife Research Center