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Photo by Jessie Turner Invading Michigan’s Waters Mute Swans A growing threat to native animals, habitat, and humans.

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Presentation on theme: "Photo by Jessie Turner Invading Michigan’s Waters Mute Swans A growing threat to native animals, habitat, and humans."— Presentation transcript:

1 Photo by Jessie Turner Invading Michigan’s Waters Mute Swans A growing threat to native animals, habitat, and humans

2 Definitions Native: species that occur naturally in a given area or region Non-Native: species that, due to direct or indirect human activity, occurs in locations beyond its known historical or potential natural range. Refers to species from another continent, region, ecosystem, or habitat. Invasive: non-native species that become established, spread widely, and cause environmental or economic harm or harm to human health

3 History of Mute Swans in Michigan Non-native and Invasive Native to Eurasia One pair introduced in Charlevoix County in birds by 1949 A southern flock was later established in SW Michigan 15,500 mute swans in 2010 Numbers increasing rapidly All North American mute swans originated from releases or escapes Photo by Jessie Turner

4 Why are Mute Swans a Problem? Threaten humans Endanger native wildlife Destroy wetland habitat Photo by Jessie Turner

5 Threaten Humans Show little fear of people Known to attack people in both boats and on shore Potentially dangerous conflicts As mute swan populations grow, so do conflicts Nik Taylor Photography  Nordic Photos/Superstock

6 Endanger Native Wildlife Very territorial during nesting and raising of young Drive out native waterfowl and other wetland bird species from breeding areas Birds at risk include state threatened trumpeter swan and common loon; native ducks, and Canada geese May be worse in areas where wetland loss has reduced suitable waterfowl breeding habitat Mute swans are one of the world’s most aggressive waterfowl Photo by

7 Destroy Wetland Habitat A single mute swan can consume 4-8 lbs. of wetland plants a day Sometimes uproot and destroy plants completely Wetland plants are important in aquatic ecosystems to provide food and cover for native birds, fish, and invertebrates Loss of native wetland plants is detrimental to the ecosystem Photo by Mark Knee

8 Michigan’s Swan Species Mute Swan Non-native Tundra Swan Native Trumpeter Swan Native Photo courtesy of: US Fish & Wildlife service Photo by Jessie Turner Photo courtesy of: stockvault.net Photo courtesy of: dreamstime.com Photo courtesy of: National Geographic

9 Trumpeter Swan A Native Beauty Native to Michigan Threatened status Mute swans threaten breeding success Photo by Jim Ridley

10 Mute Swan Numbers Increasing Rapidly Sauer, J. R., J. E. Hines, J. E. Fallon, K. L. Pardieck, D. J. Ziolkowski, Jr., and W. A. Link The North American Breeding Bird Survey, Results and Analysis Version USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MDUSGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center

11 A Growing Problem Population growth of about 9-10% annually In 10 years, the number of mute swans has nearly tripled Population model predicts 19,400-24,200 mute swans by 2015 if we do nothing Michigan has the highest number of mute swans in North America Year Population

12 Mute Swan Population Goals Short-term goals (5-year): Reduce the mute swan population to zero on DNR lands Reduce the statewide mute swan population growth to zero on all other lands Long-term goal (20-year): To maintain a spring population less than 2,000 mute swans throughout Michigan

13 What is the DNR Doing? Began local control activities in the 1960s due to a growing concern of expanding mute swan numbers Issue permits to remove mute swans and/or their nests and eggs Follow Wildlife-Division’s Mute Swan Management and Control Program Policy and Procedures Brought together a Mute Swan Forum

14 Mute Swan Management Efforts Nest/egg destruction Removal of birds Both public and private lands Photo by Jessie Turner

15 Why Remove Adults? Population model suggests that removing adults is most effective for reducing numbers Adult survival has greatest impact on population growth Mortality type Number destroyed annually to stabilize population Nests destroyed3,798 Eggs killed18,990 Adults killed1,485

16 Mute Swan Authorities No protection under federal law Not listed in Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act Protection removed in 2004 because not native Under jurisdiction of states (Public Act 451 of 1994) by Lori Niedenfuer Cool, Copyright 2007, The Grand Rapids Press. All rights reserved; used with permission.

17 Mute Swan State Authority Wildlife Conservation Order Protects mute swans Mute swans and their eggs and nests may only be taken under one of the following situations: To stabilize or reduce population levels or prevent establishment of new populations To prevent interference with the establishment, reestablishment, or reproductive success off native wildlife, threatened/endangered species, and native vegetation To protect public health, safety or welfare Mute swans taken shall not be released back into the wild Allows for issuance of damage and nuisance animal control permits Hunting mute swans is not allowed

18 Support for Mute Swan Management There are many conservation groups that support the drastic reduction of mute swan numbers The National Audubon Society The Michigan Audubon Society Ducks Unlimited The American Bird Conservancy And many more!

19 What Can You Do? You and your neighbors can help protect Michigan’s natural resources, including the trumpeter swan, by controlling mute swans on your lakes and wetlands. Call your local DNR field office Obtain nest/egg destruction or removal permits For sites with multiple landowners, file a petition or resolution Reaching mute swan goals is only possible with help from local landowners

20 Thank you for helping to protect our native wildlife species and wetland habitat! For more information visit Trumpeter Swan Photo by Bill Rollo


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