Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: Troubles at the Pond
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 8 June 2017
In Response To: Troubles at the Pond (Len)

Hi Len

The first question would be "why the need to increase the population"? Is it for aesthetics or an actual scientific reason that the population needs to be increased?

The next questions would be "what is the size of the pond, can it support a larger population, for how long, what will you do with the offspring produced by the introduced ducks once the carrying capacity of the pond is reached, who is going to be responsible for the new ducks as they are being introduced, "captive" and are not self-sustaining "wild" ducks?

We have seen this scenario many times and it usually ends very badly for both the introduced wildlife as well as the wildlife that calls an area home only to be dispatched to another area to bring in something new. Typically, the survival rates for either is not good.

So, we would never suggest to upend any wildlife from their claimed habitat just to introduce another group. A swan will only add more problems to this situation, not necessarily solve the issue as most swans will get along with ducks and will not solve disputes between the ducks.

There are many other issues with what you are proposing. Most states require a license to remove wildlife, especially mallards which are protected. You do not want to separate the pair as this would be considered "inhumane". If the state will not allow the ducks relocation, they will opt to kill the ducks.

Most states require a license to possess a swan so your homeowners association will need to procure the necessary license as well as insurance (in case of an injury caused during the care of the swan--such as falling into a pond, etc.) Since swans are considered an "exotic" species, someone in your home owners association will need to be responsible for the care and maintenance of the swan, i.e., feeding, care during extreme inclement weather such as hurricanes--the bird will need to be housed somewhere safe and indoors. Additionally, an introduction pen must be constructed to keep the swan for a 2 week acclimation period. The pen must be constructed to be entirely enclosed top to bottom so that no predators can access the swan. The pen should be 1/2 in water and 1/2 on the bank, feeder inside, no abrasive substrate such as gravel or rocks with a zero entrance. The introduction pen allows time for the swan to learn it's new environment, get acclimated to the human swan caretaker and feeding system. It also prevents the swan from walking away and trying to find its last habitat. Again, someone is going to have to responsible for feeding and caring for the swan while it is in the pen and after it is released onto the pond.The care and upkeep of swans is labor intensive as swans can live for 30 years in a good setting. Your homeowners association will need to ensure the longevity of the swans care in its codiciles should the association be bought out or disband.

We have seen time and time again, swans, ducks and other waterfowl being introduced into homeowners associations. Eventually, those living in the community who want the ducks or swans may move, have something occur which does not allow them to continue caring for the wildlife, or have others move into the community at a later date and want to have the wildlife removed. In these cases, again, situated wildlife are removed from the only home they have known, placed in another less safe adequate habitat and do not survive in the long term.

There are no guarantees that the introduced ducks will get along with any other ducks that you may introduce at a later date so, this is going to be a never ending no win situation. It is for this reason that we would strongly suggest to leave the situation alone and enjoy the ducks that now live on the pond. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

Troubles at the Pond -- Len -- 7 June 2017
Re: Troubles at the Pond -- The Regal Swan -- 8 June 2017