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Name: Katy H.
Status: educator
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1/13/2003

One member of a pair of mature female swans living on a nearby pond recently died, and a younger female swan was purchased to replace her. The two seem to be getting along. The new, young swan, I notice will lay on the bank of the pond and look dead, with her neck lying flat on the ground. The groundskeeper says she does this to preserve energy in the cold winter weather. It is December 20 in South Jersey, and pretty cold here. My question is this: Is the animal under any undue distress by exhibiting this behavior, and if so, is there anything that can be done to her environment that would be of any help? Thanks for getting back to me about this.

I have never heard of this kind of behavior and none of my references mentions it, but that does not necessarily mean it cannot happen. Generally the ground is cold and birds, like other creatures, need to keep their extremities warm, so heads and necks are usually tucked in rather than spread out to preserve warmth.

J. Elliott

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