Swans on Long Island

Mecox Bay

On Mecox Bay, on the eastern shore of Long Island, some swans are year-round residents.  In early September, this family, consisting of an adult pair and two cygnets, swam the bay together,

and dipped for seaweed and small creatures

Large flocks of adult swans had gathered on the bay.

By the end of November, the flocks were gone, and the bay belonged to the few resident families.

Parent and child

Swans often mate for life, and each year’s cygnets stay with their parents throughout their first winter.  Famous as Hans Christian Andersson’s ‘ugly duckling,” the cygnets are a drab brownish gray.

I find cygnets beautiful.

But then, I like a gray animal

This cygnet and its sibling continue to spend their days swimming the bay,

and eating seaweed,

while Canada geese fly overhead.

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Explore posts in the same categories: 2011, Birds, Fall, In the City, November, Seasons, Wildlife/Natural History, Winter

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14 Comments on “Swans on Long Island”


  1. [...] on the bay, a single Mute swan floated strangely on the water, A mute swan rests on the [...]


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  3. p hoey Says:

    It is wonderful, how the screen opens up to your photos: what the Japanese called ‘a borrowed view’…

  4. Wild_Bill Says:

    Swans are truly beautiful! From a distance they appear to be so serene. There long necks arch over the water creating some sort of crazy aquaart. Up close and personal they can be rather nasty, but that is part of their survival mechanism. Very interesting post.

  5. CGJ Says:

    What a nice post. The gray cygnets are very beautiful in spite of (because of?) their monochrome coloration.

  6. Charlotte Says:

    What surprised me most about being on the East Coast was the number of geese formations flying overhead finding their winter home. Interesting that some swans stay put; is it because they have more fat? more feathers? to keep them warm?

  7. Barbara Says:

    As always – a beautiful and thought provoking post. I love that swans float in a bay edging your huge city throughout the year. I rescued a swan last year and it floats on a small river with two other swans – not sure how this trio came to live comfortably with each other but apparently they do. There are swans in many harbours along Georgian Bay… they are among my favourite birds, graceful reminders of fairy tales and the magic of childhood.

    Thanks for sharing Melissa.


    • What a lovely response, Barbara. Thank you so much. These swans are not actually in the city, although I wouldn;t be at all surprised to hear that there are swans within the borughs. These are out on eastern long Island about 70 miles away.

      I’m fascinated that you rescued a swan. Would love to hear more about that. What was wrong with it? What kind of swans do you have there? The Mute swans that we generally see here are not native, but are thoroughly established and wild now.

  8. John Says:

    LOVE it – New York City is a veritable garden of Eden! lol.. I have only seen swans at the zoo.. By the way, Happy Thanksgiving, a little late. Enjoyed your post as always :)..

  9. Mr. Mantooth Says:

    Oh that sunlight, those grey cygnets, the curve of geese overhead; we are lucky to see them through your eyes.


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