Mar 252014
 

NOTE: This post is part of a continuing series of observations: [ Next >> ]

This exciting discovery was made right in the heart of North Texas, in a very typical Dallas/Fort Worth suburb. In the pictures below you will find a pair of Mute Swans nesting in the marshy, reed-filled end of a small pond located in a popular community park.

When we arrived at the park we found the female alone on her nest and busy incubating her eggs. It is not clear when the nest was built or when incubation began. Mutes Swans reportedly begin nesting in March or April, so it is likely that we are tuning in early in the process. The incubation period for Mute Swans is from 36 to 38 days, so we may have to do a little arithmetic after the eggs hatch in order to get a better idea of when the nesting began.

The pond the Swans have chosen to nest on is large and mostly open water. The north end, however, is thick with cattail reeds and is a great place for the swans to set up shop. The nest is a huge mound rising up out of the water and is constructed mostly of the abundant reeds. The female swan was observed adding even more vegetation to the nest while we were present.

Very close to the swan nest is a large Beaver lodge. This is perhaps the largest Beaver lodge I have yet seen in the DFW Metroplex. We will have to keep a close eye on it over the next several weeks to determine if it is active or not.

In addition to possible Beavers, there were many other animals to be seen in and around this pond. This place was a real hotbed of urban wildlife activity, and I have many more pictures of different animals to share with you over the coming days and weeks.

The female swan incubating her eggs.

The female swan incubating her eggs.

The nest is located just behind a massive beaver lodge.

The nest is located just behind a massive beaver lodge.

Adding reeds to the nest.

Adding reeds to the nest.

Doing a little nest maintenance.

Doing a little nest maintenance.

A Great Blue Heron near the nesting Mute Swan.

A Great Blue Heron near the nesting Mute Swan.

The female swan stretching her wings in front of the Beaver lodge.

The female swan stretching her wings in front of the Beaver lodge.

The female Mute Swan taking a little break from her incubation duties.

The female Mute Swan taking a little break from her incubation duties.

The male Mute Swan was also present on the pond this early afternoon. He was busy patrolling around the perimeter of the small lake and occasionally feeding. Every so often he would return to the nest to see how things were, and then he would turn around and re-enter the main body of the pond.

It was interesting to watch the big bird feed. In order to reach aquatic vegetation growing at the bottom of the pond, the male swan would often submerge his entire head and neck—all the way up to his shoulders! When he would pull his head back out of the water, he would breach the surface slowly, often comically blowing bubbles as he did.

The male swan patrolled nearby.

The male swan patrolled nearby.

If you look closely at this picture you will see that the swans bill has a deformity on the left side.

If you look closely at this picture you will see that the swans bill has a deformity on the left side.

This profile of the male swan shows the bill as it should appear.

This profile of the male swan shows the bill as it should appear.

A look at the left side reveals the deformity near the end of the swan's bill.

A look at the left side reveals the deformity near the end of the swan’s bill.

The patrolling male Mute Swan came very close to us on several occasions.

The patrolling male Mute Swan came very close to us on several occasions.

The male Mute Swan.

The male Mute Swan.

Feeding on aquatic vegetation.

Feeding on aquatic vegetation.

The swan has his head completely submerged in order to reach the plant life at the bottom of the pond.

The swan has his head completely submerged in order to reach the plant life at the bottom of the pond.

Blowing bubbles.

Blowing bubbles.

Re-emerging from the water after feeding.

Re-emerging from the water after feeding.

NOTE: This post is part of a continuing series of observations: [ Next >> ]

  One Response to “Mute Swan – Nest 2014”

  1. As an avid bird watcher I have never seen Mute Swans. Now that the chick have hatched may I know the location of this pond?

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