The mute swan, Cygnus olor (derived from two words meaning “swan”, the former being the Latin,
and the latter apparently derived from an old Celtic name for the species of bird) is found in many parts of the world,
and is known in Britain as the “Royal Bird”. It is protected by law known as “the Royal Prerogative”.
That means it is a criminal offence to harm them or damage their nests or eggs.
Despite their privileged legal status there are continuing concerns about their welfare and the preservation of their habitat.
Mute swans may be seen in large groups or flocks across the countryside but when they breed in Britain they are mainly solitary pairs.
Once ready to leave their parents the young will look to join a flock where they learn “social behaviour” during the following three years of life.
When people see large flocks they often find it hard to believe that these birds need continuing protection if their numbers are not to decrease to dangerously low levels.
Swans have few natural enemies.
They are mainly vegetarian and generally only show aggression when defending their young.
Almost all the threats to their survival and welfare come from human beings.