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Marie @ 1:15PM | Mar 17th 2003|

Deja vu all over again -Mr. Big style!
He definately belongs in a bird jail. How awful! The life expectancy of a swan does not work in your favor here Ginnie......I agree, he needs to be relocated far away. My husband was attacked by a swan -it was not funny!
By the way, Merlin is adorable and you need to post more pics of him!

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pawdua @ 1:42PM | Mar 17th 2003|

Do you know anyone with a herding dog? They use a border collie to keep the Canadian geese away from students at our community college. There were several incidents similar to yours during breeding season last year so they hired a woman who had trained her collie to herd geese. It has worked well so far this year. Swans are more aggressive but it might work.

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astrid @ 2:08PM | Mar 17th 2003|

Wow, scary experience. I wonder if (besides a stick) you could carry something like citronella spray that can be used to keep aggressive dogs away? Bet Merlin got an extra hug that day.

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Amy @ 4:28PM | Mar 17th 2003|

Swan pot pie sounds like the answer to me... especially after reading the audobon article! Best of luck :)

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Heather @ 5:22PM | Mar 17th 2003|

Swans are beutiful and it's easy to forget that they are wild animals taking care of THEIR business, not ours.

Years ago I did a lot of canoeing near Victoria, BC. Trumpeter swans (look much the same as mute swans) lived and nested along the shores of two lakes joined by a narrow marshy stream.

One time, I was canoeing in an 18 foot freghter with some friends. A swan literally projected itself like a missile at our canoe. My friends paddled madly and I defended our canoe with my paddle. In the flurry of hissing, loud honking, beating wings and snapping beak the swan broke my canoe paddle off about halfway up the broad part. Zoicks!

By that time we were far enough away that the swan abandoned the attack. We had to go ashore and portage the canoe around the narrow part on our return because the swan was waiting for us.

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Ingrid Dohler @ 8:09PM | Mar 17th 2003|

Put your pet alligator to work, Ginnie!

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zeli @ 9:44PM | Mar 17th 2003|

I concur! More pics of Merlin. I guess you are never too old to be a bodyguard.

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rhoda @ 12:27AM | Mar 19th 2003|

Wow, Your Merlin looks just like my Penelope. That sounds scary, I used to be attacked by geese until Penelope started walking with me. Kisses to Merlin.

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Nancy Mendonca @ 10:42AM | Mar 19th 2003|

This gentleman in is Maryland, but he might be a good source of information. He has been quite active in programs to control Maryland's mute swan population Larry J. Hindman
Waterfowl Project Leader
PO Box 68
Wye Mills, MD 2167__
Tel. 410/827-8612
lhindman@dnr.state.md.us


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Ginnie @ 5:30PM | Mar 19th 2003|

I appreciate all the comments and sympathy! I wrote this article mainly to let people know that although mute swans may be pretty, they are not desirable pets. In fact, they can injure children and adults, dogs and cats. At the same time, mute swans can damage the ecosystem around them because they drive off native waterfowl and deplete their food sources. When I first acquired our two Mutes, I had no knowledge of these problems. We learned the hard way. (For more info about Mutes, see the Audubon article I referenced.) Now we must find a humane way to deal with our "renegade" swans. We will continue to work on it.

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Michele @ 9:53PM | Mar 19th 2003|

Ginnie,
If you do relocate Little Big and his mate goes to nest, someone will have to feed her. As a wildlife rehabber, I've seen too many females die of hunger on the nest when the male is not there to "spell" them with the eggs. They are very devoted to the brood even before hatching. Good luck and stay safe. Oh, if you can, get one of those hand held air horns. Give it a try, sometimes the volume of noise will work for a while as they think you are making the noise.

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karen @ 9:49AM | Mar 20th 2003|

the answer is...get more Great Danes!

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Lisa @ 1:16AM | Mar 21st 2003|

Ginnie,
What a noble protector that Merlin is! Please do post more pics of the noble Merlin! We too have a spotted dane we took in as a foster for our cubs rescue and soon fell in love with her spots and stripes, she too is our Noble WatchDane about the premises.
Also, keep working on brindle pics, I love them all! Thanks,
Lisa
NorthStar Danes

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Jill @ 1:15PM | Mar 21st 2003|

I know you will find a solution to the swan problem - Humans and Danes rule the earth!

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Chantel O. Johnson @ 12:48PM | Mar 24th 2003|

You are so right, Ginnie. Swans are NOT good pets and they can certainly cause damage to those they attack. I know people who have had their arms broken by the beating of a swan's wings. As well as a woman her lost her vision in one eye due to being hit in the face by a swan. They also bite...HARD...and their wings are extremely rigid and powerful. It is natural behavior for them to protect their territory. I certainly wouldn't expect a Border Collie or any other dog to keep swans under control. Your Merlin is very brave!

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Corey @ 11:34PM | Dec 26th 2003|

I disagree with most of what these people are saying. The reason I said that is because I think it is cool watching swans when protecting their territory(it's really cool when they defend it against dogs) but anyway I would keep these swans on my own pond. You just need a fence like structure around the side of the pond you spend most of your time at and you'll have enough time to see when the swan is going to attack. (he has to get around the fence first)

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Neale Bray @ 8:47PM | Apr 17th 2005|

In my experience (here in the UK), mute swans are more intimidated by the presence of dogs than a passive human.
At my local lake, which has several hundred mutes, I have hand fed moist white bread (recommended by vets) to them for many years - typically out of the water with up to fifteen of them right up against me. It may be that they have become domesticated but I do not feel unduly under threat. In fact, I often recognise individual swans and know the traits of each one! However, I generally keep them in front of me for maximum control. If anything, it is usually cygnets who are slightly snappy.
Despite their bad eyesight, they will recognise you and I have often had them gently holding my fingers in their beaks!
One pen who had a badly damaged wing three years ago, possibly from a fox attack, cannot fly and although it has made a remarkable recovery, it is comparatively vulnerable. Yet this particular swan brings me pebbles as a present (not dissimilar to penguin activity) but she also preens my legs which is peculiar.. I have never been hurt by this - not even the slightest bruise.
That said, I am still more wary of swans in locations where I am not known and they are more defensive when there are only a few adults rather than a community (even though they are still territorial).
Most dog owners seem oblivious
to the havoc that mans best friend can cause and they simply let dogs go towards swans - not a good idea.
You think I am insane, I know! But I am far more concerned about the unpredictability of my local geese , gulls and herons .
Finally,I would tust a mute swan far more than a bewick or hooperr, both of which are more violent even though they are smaller..
Regards Neale Bray

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