Tuesday, May 13, 2014

TORONTO STAR PHOTO ESSAY ON SAM SMITH SWANS - "SWANS ON GUARD"

"Link - A pair of swans have created a massive nest and are taking turns
sitting on their eggs at Colonel Sam Smith Park at the foot of Kipling south of Lakeshore in New Toronto."

The nest is just metres away from the observation deck in the large pond. (That observation deck is scheduled to be rebuilt later on this year).

Although Mute Swans are big attractions in the park, they are bullies. They attack other waterfowl and steal the best nesting spots. They were probably the reason two Red Necked Grebe bodies were found floating in the marina last year. They are an invasive European species and have virtually displaced the native Trumpeter Swan in our area.  They have voracious
Trumpeter Swan
appetites, digging up almost four kilograms of wetland vegetation a day. They can live a quarter-century, have no predators and reproduce wildly.

Their population is managed in the Greater Toronto Area by the Toronto Conservation Authority.  "Management" means that eggs are sprayed with vegetable oil so oxygen can’t pass through the shell — smothering the embryo. This is considered to be better than smashing the shells as the mothers don’t catch on and therefore don’t start laying anew. So the eggs in this nest will probably never hatch as TRCA carries out its management policy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Recently I visited the park and saw 2 swan nests with swans sitting in them. A couple of days later the nests were empty and there were no chicks to be seen! Does anyone know what happened? Please let me know. Thanks, Smadar. (smadarcarmon@yahoo.com)