Note from the ED: Sara Kempton, Director of the Programs for the Friends, is the biggest fan of swans on the Friends’ staff while the others are really not because of the ecological impact of these non-native birds. Therefore, we decided that she should be the one to write a blogpost about the impact of swans to see if she would change her opinion. Here’s what she found….
I have many fond memories of walks beside the lake with my family as a child. Of spending the day outside in Van Cortlandt Park enjoying nature and the wildlife we grew accustomed to. A highlight was always the ducks and swans in the lake. As far as I can remember Van Cortlandt Lake has had a pair of swans in it and each year we would wait for a glimpse of babies and watch as they grew up and flew away. Never did I question if these magnificent white birds belonged here, never did I question how they affected the rest of the lake or the animals and plants in it.
Fast forward some years.
Mute swans (Cygnus olor) are a non-native invasive water bird introduced to North America during the late 1800’s from their native ranges in Europe. Meant to grace private ponds and delight humans they were released from breeding locations into the wild and, finding suitable habitat in NYS, did what non-native species do and established themselves. Read more »