Fred and any others interested, 

Two mute swans by you is no problem. Up to 65 can be seen on any given day on 
Argyle Lake in Babylon.  It is a pond that is less than 1/4 mile in 
circumference.  All other breeding waterfowl here have been eradicated by these 
swans. Some migrant waterfowl use the pond but less than in the past. Few 
dabbling ducks use it as swans have eaten all vegetation on the bottom of the 
pond to as far as their long necks can reach. 

Geese come and go in migration here, but the mute swans are a constant.  So I 
would expect that the reason that DEC wants to control them is that they are an 
invasive species that is destroying the local ecosystem and driving out native 
species. Maybe not happening by you, but definitely happening here in western 

Non-birders are aware of this issue because it appeared in the newspapers when 
the DEC came out and said they would start removing the swans. That typically 
means shooting, trapping, poisoning, etc. Hardly anyone likes the idea of 
culling these birds through cruel and inhumane ways (including me), so the 
subject comes up for a debate that has reached beyond birders and wildlife 
people from time to time.  My understanding is that egg oiling and similar 
tactics are being used, or at least are up for discussion, to control the 

Since they are an invasive and destructive species, any connection that an 
observer feels to wildlife by viewing feral mute swans is based entirely on a 
lack of understanding of the natural world around them. You might have done 
more for the guy you ran into today if you had told him that if it weren’t for 
those swans, he might be seeing ten different species of waterfowl that they 
have driven away.  Beauty is obviously in the eye of the beholder, but I’d 
prefer green-wing teal and pintails to those swans. 

(And sociologically speaking, to me those swans represent the escaped stock of 
early successful Americans anxious to imitate the “Lords of the Manor” in 
Europe, who are the same folks that my Irish ancestors fled to America to get 
away from.) 

While stepping around goose droppings and occasionally having to hit the brakes 
to allow a goose flock to cross the street is an inconvenience, I don’t think 
it has nearly the adverse effect on the local environment that the swans have 
had in my part of Long Island. 

Tim Dunn
Sent from my iPhone

> On Dec 4, 2017, at 4:58 PM, Frederick Kedenburg <> 
> wrote:
> Although yes, I do know this issue was posted locally on the NF, yet it still 
> has many repercussions to birders throughout NYS therefore I am posting.
> If you wish to eradicate Mute Swan I am sorry.
> rk
> North Fork LI NY: I went looking for the reported Snowy at the Mattituck 
> Inlet Breakwater today but although I looked along the Beach, east & west and 
> patrolled the DEC conservation and boat ramp area I could not find it. I’ll 
> try again as once the species shows up it can be persistent. The predominant 
> waterfowl there today was Long-tailed Duck. It was good to hear their call 
> once again this season.
> After some coffee and a late breakfast in Mattituck I went to Laurel Lake.
> There were plentiful numbers of Ring-necked Duck, Ruddy Duck and American 
> Coot. Also seen were one Great Blue Heron, one Pied Billed Grebe and a 
> Gadwall.
> As an aside:
> There were two Mute Swan in the Laurel Lake compared to hundreds of Canada 
> Geese there today.
> Why does the NYS-DEC seem so preoccupied with extirpating all the Mute Swan 
> and is doing next to nothing in addressing the vast numbers of Canada Geese 
> in NYS. The geese cause so much damage to wetlands and to water quality due 
> to the hugh amount of poop they produce. Loading nitrogen into our bays and 
> wetlands is only part of the problem. Maneuvering about many parking lots and 
> commercial businesses with grass without encountering poop is problematic.
> I understand from DEC records that the Mute Swan population in NYS is 
> somewhere between 2800 and 3500. Please correct me if I am wrong.
> As I was looking through my scope this morning at Laurel Lake a fellow came 
> along walking his dog and asked me what I was looking at. I gave him a brief 
> description of the species there and he said to me. “Why do they want to kill 
> all the swans? He continued to say “I love the Swans, they are so beautiful 
> and my kids love to see them as well”. I wondered how an average person had 
> come to know about this issue.
> My point here is that I believe the Mute Swan, although yes it is an 
> ‘invasive species’, does more good than harm as it helps connect people with 
> a world around them they did not know before. The Swans in effect connect 
> people to nature and help create a culture of conservation that helps us all.
> As for Canada Geese I have nothing against them; however, to put thing into 
> perspective when I do the DEC Winter Waterfowl Census in January I frequently 
> find about 3,000 Canada Geese in the fields along Oregon Road Mattituck NY 
> alone. Imagine how many statewide.
> In my opinion the DEC needs to get their priorities in the correct order and 
> concern themselves with a gradual reduction in the population of Canada 
> Geese. Whether it be through addling of eggs or a more lenient view when it 
> comes to hunting and or donation of the take to food banks something must be 
> done.
> rk
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