Why Australia’s black swans are showing up in Southern California

Black swans, native to Australia, have been spotted recently around Orange County, perplexing people who wonder how the exotic birds made their way to local lakes and harbors.

The answer to that mystery may just be found in Lake Forest, where a tight-knit community was abuzz about word that black swans have been spotted in places such as Irvine and Newport Beach in recent weeks.

A trio of black swans, native to Australia and rarely seen in Southern California, were spotted in the Newport Harbor on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Alana Flores) 

The birds, with their dark feathers and bright red beaks, are not so rare there, and have long been a pride of the town.

Barbara Hogan said the Lake Forest Keys community bought the original swans about eight to 10 years ago and since then there have been many births and gaggles from the original couple.

“It’s actually a fascinating story about how the swans grow and thrive in our Lake Forest Keys lake.  Unlike the original parents, whose wings were clipped to keep them here, a decision was made that the babies be able to leave and find other places to go,” she wrote in an e-mail.  “They’ve been seen at a number of the lakes around here.  We still have many of them here.  We currently have one couple on the lake with one baby.”

Ron Schneider said the “majestic birds” were bought after two large white swans were too aggressive.

“Rumor has it one of them actually killed a small dog,” he wrote in an e-mail.

He said the association paid $1,500 a piece for the pair.

“Unfortunately, the male died after about a year and we had to purchase another male black swan,” he recalled. “It took awhile for the female to become friendly with her new mate. But finally, love was in the air.”

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In the past five to six years, the swans and their offspring have produced about 25 new black swans. The original pair have since passed on and the offspring spend time at the lake as they want.

“So, they can come and go as they please,” …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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