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Mute Swan

Mute Swan
Photo Information
Copyright: Hilary Wilkinson (Hil) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 696 W: 13 N: 1407] (5035)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-05-23
Categories: Birds
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/320 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-01-19 7:29
Viewed: 3181
Points: 30
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Took this on yet another of out many Grey Days last year, if it wasn't for the orange beak it could almost be taken for a B&W shot, the Swan was posing nicely though so thought I would post it.

Mute Swan Info...


Adults of this large swan range from 125-170 cm (49-67 in) long with a 200-240 cm (79-95 in) wingspan. They may stand over 1.2 m (four feet) tall on land. Males are larger than females and have a larger knob on their bill.

The Mute Swan is one of the heaviest flying birds, with males (known as "cobs") averaging at about 12kg (27 lbs), and females (known as "pens") more than 9 kg (20 lbs.). An exceptionally enormous Polish cob weighed almost 23 kg (50 lbs.), surpassing the longer-bodied Trumpeter Swan to make it the heaviest waterfowl ever recorded. Its size, orange-reddish bill and white plumage make this swan almost unmistakable, in close quarters. Surveys done by air plane, however, often mistake the species, creating questionable counts. The most similar species is Whooper Swan, but that has a yellow and black bill, and lacks the curved "swan" neck, is longer and heavier and lacks the characteristic projection above the bill.

Young birds, called "cygnets", are not the bright white of mature adults, and lack the bill is black, not orange, for the first year. The color of the down may range from pure white to grey to a buff color. The grey/buff coloration is more widespread in cygnets around the world.[Burton,K}(2007) The white colored cygnets have a leucistic gene, seen most often in the north central states in America and in Poland. All mute swans are white at maturity.


Mute Swans nest on large mounds that they build in shallow water in the middle or at the edge of a lake. These monogamous birds reuse the same nest each year, restoring or rebuilding it as needed. Male and female swans share the care of the nest, and once the cygnets are fledged it is not uncommon to see whole families looking for food. They feed on submerged aquatic vegetation, reached with their long necks. This bird can often be found in colonies of over 100 individuals such as at the southern tip of Íland Island, Ottenby Preserve, in the coastal waters of the Baltic Sea (Hogan, 2006). These large groups are generally non-mated juveniles.(Scott,P) Once the adults are mated they seek out their own territories and often live close to ducks and gulls, who take advantage of the swans ability to reach weeds, which tend to spread out on the water surface.

Although this bird can be tame, especially to those who feed it daily, it is aggressive in defence of its nest, and its size and impressive hissing make it a formidable adversary for animals as large as a fox. There have been many reports of Mute Swans attacking people who enter their territory.

The Mute Swan is less vocal than the noisy Whooper and Bewick's Swans; the most familiar sound associated with Mute Swan is the whooshing of the wings in flight once this bird has laboriously taken off from the water. The phrase swan song refers to this swan and to the legend that it is utterly silent until the last moment of its life, and then sings one achingly beautiful song just before dying; in reality, the Mute Swan is not completely silent Listen Here

Unlike Black Swans, Mute Swans are strongly territorial. The familiar pose with neck curved back and wings half raised, known as busking, is a threat display. The Mute Swan is protected in most of its range, but this has not prevented illegal hunting and poaching in some countries.

Notes From Wilkipedia.com

Adanac, Alex99, ellis49, nglen, earthtraveler, angybone, Luis52, izler, hester has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2008-01-19 7:39]

Hello Hil,
Your capture of this swan possess great detail in the white plummage and action well frozen. Superb work Hil, and thank you for sharing this excellent image.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-01-19 7:51]

Hi Hil.
Amazing swan poses for you greatly and you managed to reproduce all its beauty. Great timing, terrific sharpness. Exposure is precise. I also like wonderful reflection of the water surface. Its steel colour tones are so nice. My compliments and best regards.

Hi Hil,
you captured this mute swan with good timing.
Good details and exposure are also good, noet easy with all whites.
Well done.

Have a nice weekend

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-01-19 8:26]

Hi Hil,
I haven't seen a post from you in a while!
It's nice to see you back :)
This is a fine shot of this posing Swan.
A high contrast image which like you said, could almost be B+W if it weren't for the orange beak!
Sharp with great clarity.
Superb pose.
Well done and I hope to see some more posts from you soon,

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-01-19 8:52]

Hi Hilary. A very good close up of the Mute Swan. good detail . You have captured a good pose with the wing open. well done TFS.good notes too.

Hello Hil,
Good catch of this Swan rearing up and opening it's wings.
Is it showing off for the ladies or being agressive, etc?
Very good detail, nice pose, and good timing/stop action.

Hi Hilary,
Mute swan is also abundant around Zonguldak in Turkey, where I am living, this month. They will stay here in winter season. The motion of bird and light very nice. Sharpness and details too. TFS,

Hello Hil
I think the grey sky does a great favour to this lovely picture as you say it is almost B+W...That said I wish the sun would come out for a while!!
Its a grat pose that you have captured in the swan and great timing also because they really shake hard in their stretches..
Great Pic and Tfs
All the Best and fingers crossed for the currant bun to peep through the murk!!

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-01-20 5:23]

Hello Hilary,
The thumbnail does suggest B&W, but a closer look shows a fine action shot of this Mute Swan cob stretching his wings, taken from a fine POV to show the underneath of the bill, that is not often seen.
Nice composition and sharpness,

Wonderful pose! This swan seems to be celebrating life itself! BEAUTIFUL!!
Great pose, great exposure. Whites are so hard for me to do.

  • Great 
  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2008-01-21 6:14]

Hi Hil.
Exelente foto de este Ganso con sus alas extendidas. Muy hermosa la pose y agradables colores logrados aqui.
Saludos Hil.

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-01-21 19:34]

Hello Hil

What a display!
The feather detail in the wings is amazing,partly because of the great back lighting.
This is well timed to get this puffed out breast,and aggressive stance.
Very well exposed on the whites,just one little spot on the lower neck,but not distracting.
Well done.TFS


Still me Hil,
great pose and very well timed shot, excellent focus, splendid colours and very good composition,
well done,

  • Great 
  • izler Gold Star Critiquer [C: 1387 W: 3 N: 9] (44)
  • [2008-01-28 9:13]

selam hilary
good capturing of this cute swan while its giving moving pose to you
i like composition, pov, sharpness, details and note

  • Great 
  • hester Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1515 W: 18 N: 3165] (11638)
  • [2008-02-12 12:24]

Hi Hilary

Nice pose from your swan and lovely frozen action.

Lets hope we get less grey days this year



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