dirty jobs

New York Wants to Do Away With Mute Swans Once and for All

Ducks and swans take a break from the long flight South at a pond in Van Cortland Park in the Bronx
Photo: Robert Sabo/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

There is an ugly side to wildlife management, especially when it comes time to control the population of a species people find attractive. Airport officials learned this lesson last month when their shotgun-based snowy-owl-eradication project met horrified reaction. So now that the state has deemed a bird as picturesque as the mute swan to be an invasive species, it has a distasteful population-control project on its hands as it tries to stem their numbers: “The birds would either be shot or captured and gassed; eggs on nests would be oiled, which keeps them from hatching,” the New York Times reports. Pretty grim stuff. Fortunately for some birds, however, private land owners may get to keep swans on their properties. So a few might get lucky, if they can figure out where to go.

New York Wants to Do Away With Mute Swans