The Mute Swan is a beautiful bird which has inspired art and music. First introduced to the United States in the 1800s, its habitat is residential ponds and lakes such as the pond at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, where we photographed this bird during an early morning visit to the Palace on an unusually warm day.
Although the Mute Swan has a peaceful and gentle personality, when getting close to them it is important to be respectful. They are a very powerful bird and can lash out at amazing speed -- a neck blow able to break the arm of a full-grown man. With wingspans as wide as 8 feet, these swans are one of the world's biggest flying birds.
This photo was first published October 23, 2006 by City Birds.
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