Swan Group Behavior
Observing a group of about 60 mute swans on the River Avon
south of Salisbury, England, there were two groups ( 2 and 3) of
relatively grown cygnets who were feeding and seemed to be guarded
by a sentry swam with other swans in charge of keeping the group of
adults from encroaching on the young ones' feeding places. Do swans
operate in this kind of organized society in what seemed a
sophisticated form of behavior?
I am no swan specialist, but various waterfowl have been known to guard
each others young while walking, feeding, swimming, etc. In effect, this
is like group baby sitting so the other adults can feed or rest while
their young are guarded, then they will guard the young so the previously
guarding adults can relax.
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Update: June 2012