Hartford, CT (PressExposure) April 17, 2009 -- Historic materials and specimens show that mute swans, long thought to be a non native in America, was here when John White arrived in Virginia in 1585, long before European colonization. Fossils of what is called "Sthenelides paloregonus," thought to be extinct, have beed designated "probably mute swans," by Hildegarde Howard, avian paleontologist who is acknowledged to have been an expert in this field. Sthenelides, by the way, was "the old fashioned name for the mute swan, according to PeterScott, founder of the World Wildfowl Trust.
Other, newer materials show the species come to this continent from Russia/Siberia and Kamchatka, where they still can be found. The U.N. lists them in seventy countries. Many of these countries use the mute swan as their official bird and their imagery has been used in legends, operas, ballets and many other vehicles.
Archeological finds in Canada show mute swans were there in the early 1600s, in the James Bay area, not colonized until many years after.
Material from the British Museum, Royal Ontario Museum, U of Toronto, and noted ornithological and paleontological experts provide back-up in an extensive bibliography. The new paper appeared in Society of Canadian Ornithologists December issue and was part of the material at the American Ornithological Union's meeting in Oregon, last August. It created a stir, but so far the facts have not been refuted by correcting facts, only opinions.
For information on the mute swans, their history in America and elsewhere and their status today in the United States, go to MBTAAdvocates @ aol.com or the website at "SavetheMuteSwans.com." The site is being added to, every week.