RE: [CALBIRDS] Status of Mute Swan in CA
It is clear that small numbers of Mute Swans occur throughout California
(mainly in coastal counties) and that a few pairs breed locally
(particularly in Marin Co. and elsewhere in the north Bay Area).
Free-flying birds can be seen almost anywhere and occasionally cause
confusion by being identified as Tundra or Trumpeter Swans.
It is currently the opinion of the CBRC's Introduced Birds Subcommittee
that Mute Swan populations in California are not large enough, nor have
any of the small populations persisted long enough (except perhaps in
Marin Co.), to warrant consideration of the species on the state list as
an established exotic.
As most of you are aware, the USFWS has been prevented from eradicating
or otherwise controlling naturalized Mute Swan populations (which are
doing considerable ecological damage on the Atlantic coast, etc.) by a
court ruling that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act applied to all swans.
[Once again, certain misguided animal rights groups were successful in
pushing an anti-environment agenda]. Thankfully, things are looking
more hopeful, as an amendment to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act was
published in yesterday's (4 January 2005) Federal Register that
explicitly excludes Mute Swans and other non-native species from MBTA
protection. Not wanting to clutter up Calbirds, I haven't pasted the
entire text from the Federal Register below, but interested parties can
check the Federal Register announcement on their own (sorry, I don't
have a link handy).
Below is just a SMALL PORTION of the Federal Register text; your
comments in support of this amendment (see procedure below) would be
Published in the Federal Register today (4 January 2005), pursuant to
legislative mandate: the USFWS proposed list of bird species to be
EXCLUDED under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
The legislative mandate is that provision of the FY2005 Omnibus
Appropriations Act that incorporates what was HR4114, a bill introduced
by Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD) to amend the Migratory Bird Treaty Act so as
to exclude non-native species. That legislation directed the USFWS to
publish "Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this
section....a list of all nonnative, human-introduced bird species to
which the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 U.S.C. 703 et seq.) does not
apply." Said legislation in turn being a response to the decision of a
federal appellate court that under the terms of the Migratory Bird
Treaty with Canada and in the absence of regulation by the USFWS to the
contrary, Mute Swans could not be excluded from MBTA protection. The
Congress responded by amending the MBTA to provide that:
(1) IN GENERAL- This Act applies only to migratory bird species that are
native to the United States or its territories.
(2) NATIVE TO THE UNITED STATES DEFINED
(A) IN GENERAL- Subject to subparagraph (B), in this subsection the term
`native to the United States or its territories' means occurring in the
United States or its territories as the result of natural biological or
(B) TREATMENT OF INTRODUCED SPECIES- For purposes of paragraph (1), a
migratory bird species that occurs in the United States or its
territories solely as a result of intentional or unintentional
human-assisted introduction shall not be considered native to the United
States or its territories unless--
(i) it was native to the United States or its territories and extant in
(ii) it was extirpated after 1918 throughout its range in the United
States and its territories; and
(iii) after such extirpation, it was reintroduced in the United States
or its territories as a part of a program carried out by a Federal
COMMENTS DUE ON OR BEFORE 3 FEBRUARY 2005.
Mail public comments to Chief, Division of Migratory Bird Management,
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Mail Stop
4107, Arlington, VA 22203.
E-mail comments to nonnativebirds@...
<mailto:nonnativebirds@...>. E-mail comments should be submitted as
an ASCII file with Nonnative Birds in the subject line. Avoid the use of
special characters and any form of encryption.
Kimball L. Garrett
Ornithology Collections Manager
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
900 Exposition Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90007
(213) 746-2999 FAX
From: Jim Gain [mailto:birder@...]
Sent: Wednesday, January 05, 2005 7:36 AM
Subject: [CALBIRDS] Status of Mute Swan in CA
Last winter we had a pair of Mute Swans in a small reservoir in Eastern
Stanislaus County. This winter we now have Mute Swans at two different
reservoirs along the eastern side of the county. What is the status of
Swans in the state? I understand there is a breeding population in
Is there any thought that this species may become the next Eurasian
- Hello all,
In Contra Costa County there has been a resident flock of Mute Swans
for nearly 10 years that frequents the marshes north of Concord, usually on
military property. To the best of my knowledge, this flock had consistently
numbered about 10 individuals. I was surprised to find, on a recent CBC that
allowed me access to this property, that there are now almost 50 birds present.
This small group has often been misidentified by some counters who
were unaware of the need to carefully check all white swans for possible Mutes.
Further, as groups such as these continue to grow in number it will begin to
cast doubt upon distant swan flocks flying over unusual locations, i.e. over
coastal sites, if Mutes can't be ruled out.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- At one of our latest censuses at Shollenberger Park in Petaluma we counted
27 Mute Swans. As far as I am concerned this is a significant problem. If
anyone knows of a legal solution that can be sought please let me know.
From: dougshawbirder@... [mailto:dougshawbirder@...]
Sent: Wednesday, January 05, 2005 12:00 PM
To: bdeuel@...; birder@...; firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Re: [CALBIRDS] Status of Mute Swan in CA
The Mute Swan population has been growing in Sonoma County at
Shollenberger Park in Petaluma. A few years back there were 1-2 swans
present. Last I
knew there were 7 Mute Swans at the park.
Santa Rosa, CA
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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