No swan song along Chaussee

“A Cedar Point resident observed federal wildlife officers shooting the swans from their vehicle parked along the roadway”
Andy Ouriel
May 16, 2014


Could   this be the swan song for swans swimming around Sandusky Bay?

This past week, several worried residents contacted the Register about a sudden disappearance of swans floating by and roaming around the Cedar Point Chaussee. Some even claimed people killed the swans.

“A Cedar Point resident observed federal wildlife officers shooting the swans from their vehicle parked along the roadway,” Sandusky resident Ronald Kaufman said. “As a conservationist, who enjoys hunting, I’m appalled at this act of our federal government. They could only have accomplished this dastardly feat with a rifle, which not only is dangerous but unlawful to hunt waterfowl within Ohio”

And that could be true in this case.

The Register relayed these concerns to Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife representatives.

A division spokesman didn’t confirm whether federal officials are shooting local mute swans in Sandusky Bay — but he did verify that wildlife officers sometimes shoot swans in certain spots to protect a local environment.

“In other areas, where mute swan populations are negatively impacting habitats and need (to be) reduced, lethal methods are used to reduce mute swan numbers, which usually is done with firearms,” division spokesman John Windau said.

Windau compared mute swans to Asian carp, both of which are exotic, invasive species capable of destroying ecosystems. Mute swans, like Asian carp, are unprotected from Ohio or federal wildlife preservation laws.

“Mute swans are an exotic invasive species that threaten native wildlife,” Windau said. “In terms of public satisfaction, wildlife management is not different than the news business: There is no way to make 100 percent of the people happy 100 percent of the time”

At least one person seemed disturbed by this possible development occurring in Erie County.

“I can’t believe the state would do anything that would create a hazard,” said Mona Rutger, Back to the Wild’s founder. Back to the Wild is a nonprofit wildlife rehabilitation center helping return injured or sick animals into their natural habitats.

Rutger alluded to all sorts of dangers occurring if dead birds are in Sandusky Bay.

“There could be disease transmission,” Rutger said. “There could be an overabundance of carcasses rotting the environment. There could be other health problems with bacteria”

The Register plans to delve deeper into this issue after contacting federal officials.



There should be some kind of investigation. I hope the Register gets to the bottom of this. Wildlife officials should not be shooting swans. Relocate them or find another solution. I don't care if they're invasive species that are unprotected. They're animals that should not be destroyed.


I disagree. I think we should leave these types of decisions up to the people that know what they are talking about. If they think the swans are a detriment to the areas environment - then so be it. Relocating a bird? I doubt that is feasible. You are correct - they are animals but if they are causing more harm than good then get rid of them.

Licorice Schtick

Proper nature preserve management includes controlling invasive species, with the highest priority to the ones that do the most harm. If the work was being done in Sheldons Marsh, there can be little doubt of the need for culling. Mute swans compete agressively with native species, some of which may be endangered, that rely upon the preserve. They also voraciously pull up the vegetation they eat by the roots and muddy vast areas of water. There are "nicer" ways of managing these birds, but they are more labor intensive and so cost more, and SNP's are a little short on time and money these days, so they need to be as efficient as possible. I doubt that they take any pleasure in that work.


How about Canada Geese? What are they doing about those?


2 sets of laws...


Why did you go to ODNR for a comment if the resident said it was federal wildlife officers? Would you go to the Ohio Highway Patrol when you had questions about something the FBI was doing?


They contacted ODNR probably because it was most likely ODNR executing the task.




If they want to shoot something I suggest Canada geese.


I totally agree !

Julie R.

Somebody saw federal wildlife officers shooting the swans from their vehicle parked along the roadway? If that's true, that is plain disgusting.

Licorice Schtick

Are you disgusted by recreational goose and duck hunting, too?

Julie R.

If I witnessed it then yes, I probably would be.

The Bizness

If they were shooting to protect the local environment then what's the problem?


i want to know how these birds are hurting the eco system please someone find out first then make a decision on the situation


How can they be invasive? They can fly anywhere.


The Mute Swan was introduced to North America in the late 19th century. Recently, it has been widely viewed as an invasive species because of its rapidly increasing numbers and adverse effects on other waterfowl and native ecosystems. For example, a study of population sizes in the lower Great Lakes from 1971 to 2000 found that Mute Swan numbers were increasing at an average rate of at least 10% per year, doubling the population every seven to eight years.[34] Several studies have concluded that Mute Swans severely reduce densities of submerged vegetation where they occur.[35]

In 2003, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to "minimize environmental damages attributed to Mute Swans" by reducing their numbers in the Atlantic Flyway to pre-1986 levels, a 67% reduction at the time. According to a report published in the Federal Register of 2003[36] the proposal was supported by all thirteen state wildlife agencies which submitted comments, as well as by 43 bird conservation, wildlife conservation and wildlife management organisations. Ten animal rights organisations and the vast majority of comments from individuals were opposed. At this time Mute Swans were protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act due to a court order, but in 2005 the United States Department of the Interior officially declared them a non-native, unprotected species.[37] Mute Swans are protected in some areas of the U.S. by local laws, as for example in Connecticut.[38]

The status of the Mute Swan as an introduced species in North America is disputed by the interest group "Save The Mute Swans".[39] They assert that Mute Swans are native in the region and therefore deserving of protection. They claim that Mute Swans had origins from Russia and cite historical sightings and fossil records. These claims have been rejected as specious by the U.S. Department of the Interior.[37]

Licorice Schtick

The above appears to be lifted from Wikipedia:

Licorice Schtick

Just wait until one of the suburbs hires someone for a deer culling project. That'll bring in the hatemail.


Talk about invasive species why can't they do that with democrats?


No, humans, in general.


Is it legal to shoot from a vehicle on the roadway? Or are they above the law?


Did they shoot all their babies too or just going to let them starve to death? I would classify the feds as invasive species.


Four Mute Swans are also shot on Catawba Island last week in the area of the bridge on sr53. (near Holiday Inn Express)
The ODNR used a duck boat to go out and retrieve the bodies. It was sad.

The explanation was that the invasive Mute Swans prevent the smaller native species of Trumpeter Swans from breeding in the area. This culling is being done quietly to keep public outrage at a minimum.