As everyone so far has contributed in good faith, and given that this listserv 
is devoted to NYS birds of all kinds, not just rare, why not discuss?

My perception is that waterfowl are thriving above and beyond all other 
ecological guilds. The explosion in Canada Goose numbers is not attributable to 
the feral component; it is the northern, natural populations that are expanding 
under climate change. In general, we have been finding ducks and geese in 
tremendous abundance and diversity throughout NYS in recent years. If Mute 
Swans are a problem, it is a very small one compared to many other threats to 
our environment. And, as Rick points out, our environment has been abused so 
badly for so long that a lot of what is still here is in a co-dependent 
relationship with past abuse. 

For example, there are legitimate (mostly non-avian) rationales undergirding 
the recent fascination with undoing Long Island's ubiquitous, centuries-old 
dams. While possibly restoring fish runs, this policy would also drain 
innumerable South Shore ponds, probably removing many thousands of ducks from 
Long Island--more than Mute Swans ever displaced. Arguably these would be ducks 
that "shouldn't have been here anyway," but what if the fish populations don't 
recover either? But this is just one example. Should we invest in the Sisyphean 
eradication of multiflora rose? Honeysuckle? Phragmites? The answers to these 
various massive-scale questions range from "probably not" to "maybe."

In contrast, I think the expenditure of time and money on eradicating Mute 
Swans is entirely misplaced. The potential benefits are demonstrably small, and 
the public relations costs are likely significant--and this is not to mention 
the logistical costs. Why not use those resources and whatever public good will 
remains in this dark age to buy xxx hectares of scabby-looking oak woods? If we 
don't, all we'll have are sterile creaks--without dams but also without 
ponds--built up to the edges, and without any woods either.

Shai Mitra
Bay Shore
________________________________________
From: bounce-122103568-3714...@list.cornell.edu 
[bounce-122103568-3714...@list.cornell.edu] on behalf of Rick [rc...@nyc.rr.com]
Sent: Monday, December 4, 2017 9:22 PM
To: 'Tim Dunn'; 'Frederick Kedenburg'
Cc: 'Michael Cooper'; 'NYS BIRDS'
Subject: RE: [nysbirds-l] [NFBirds Report 3221] Snowy Owl, No

First, kudos to Chris T-H for keeping order in our rangy group. A laudable 
task, not simple.

Second, the fact that one invasive (Mute Swans) may be more of less destructive 
than another (non-migratory “barnyard” Canada Geese) is a sensible question for 
discussion (maybe or maybe not on a rare bird list-serve, but leave that aside 
for the moment).

Like many birders, I abhor human intrusions into natural bird habitats and 
behavior (such as introduction of invasives, even though they admittedly may 
have the odd beneficial effect, such as some popular garden plants that provide 
sustenance for native butterfly species, my specialty), and I likewise abhor 
anthromorpic “cuddling” of cute species that cause massive harm (feral cats). I 
also recognize the “PR” value of engaging public sentiment with salient “nature 
hooks,” while being aware of the double-edged sword nature of such appeals.

Maybe our list serve is not the right place to hold these discussions, esp. 
when they become vitriolic. But what is the right forum? I’m interested in 
having a well-thought-through set of conservation propositions being widely 
discussed and endorsed in the community.

Suggestions?

Rick

From: bounce-122103507-3714...@list.cornell.edu 
[mailto:bounce-122103507-3714...@list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Tim Dunn
Sent: Monday, December 04, 2017 8:37 PM
To: Frederick Kedenburg <kedenb...@optonline.net>
Cc: Michael Cooper <mike5...@icloud.com>; NYS BIRDS <NYSbirds-L@cornell.edu>
Subject: Re: [nysbirds-l] [NFBirds Report 3221] Snowy Owl, No

I agree Fred, as to the context of the conversation. It’s not an easy issue for 
birders and reasonable minds can differ on these issues.

I also have no problem with dealing with the “immigrant” swan population as 
humanely as possible. To me, the most palatable solution would probably be to 
prevent more cygnets and let the existing population live out their lives, 
though I also suspect that would be the most expensive way to deal with or 
solve the problem, with the DEC oiling and pricking eggs for decades.

Frankly, I don’t know how the swan overpopulation on my local pond should be 
addressed, but I’d only be in favor of a dealing with it through a method that 
is decent and humane. I would like to see a return of some native waterfowl 
that I blame the swans for driving out. Certainly, it’s not necessary to 
eliminate every mute swan, but my opinion is that there needs to be some 
control of populations in certain places like Argyle Lake.  Argyle still holds 
the occasional birding surprise,  but native waterfowl numbers seem clearly to 
be down due to the proliferation of swans there. Hardly any waterfowl breed 
there now, besides the swans.

Thanks,
Tim Dunn
Babylon, NY
Sent from my iPhone

On Dec 4, 2017, at 7:54 PM, Frederick Kedenburg 
<kedenb...@optonline.net<mailto:kedenb...@optonline.net>> wrote:
I don’t think Chris T-H needs to weigh in on this as it is a polite 
conversation of an issue that we all know about.
Many of us have opinions that will not be changed. That is everyones right.

I have simply this one thing to say:
I know many out there wish to eliminate the Swans for what they believe are 
scientific reasons.
I think the Mute Swan, now that they have been here for over a century, have as 
much a right to live as any immigrant does today.
Their numbers and the damage they do is really negligible compared to other 
species.

Are not Swans now to be considered naturalized and a beauty for all to behold? 
I think they need this protection.
rk


On Dec 4, 2017, at 6:21 PM, Michael Cooper 
<mike5...@icloud.com<mailto:mike5...@icloud.com>> wrote:

Well said Tim, but I think I hear the footsteps of
Chris T-H on the way, so I’m going to mention a bird in this post and “duck” 
out of the way of the ban hammer!

Mike Cooper
Ridge LI NY
Sent from my iPhone

On Dec 4, 2017, at 6:03 PM, Tim Dunn 
<timd...@optonline.net<mailto:timd...@optonline.net>> wrote:
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 
Suffolk.


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 
population.


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.


Thanks,
Tim Dunn
Sent from my iPhone

On Dec 4, 2017, at 4:58 PM, Frederick Kedenburg 
<kedenb...@optonline.net<mailto:kedenb...@optonline.net>> 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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