6 Romantic and Fascinating Swan Facts

Updated: Feb. 08, 2021

Learn swan facts, including what swans eat, why they're known as a symbol of love and how many swan species call North America home.

Two White Swans In A Heart Shape SymbolJohn Scott/Getty Images
These mute swans are likely paired for life.

Swan Facts: Mute Swans Mate for Life

A mute swan typically has only one mate in its lifetime. Pairs usually don’t break up, often only seeking a new partner if their mate dies. Learn more about sweet bird courtship rituals.

Swan Facts: Three Swan Species Live in North America

Only three species of swans nest in North America: the trumpeter swan, the mute swan and the tundra swan (sometimes known as the whistling swan). Learn what to do if you find a bird nest with eggs or a baby bird.

swans Marlon Porter Bnb Bypc2020.jpegCourtesy Marlon Porter
Baby trumpeter swans 

Swan Facts: Trumpeter Swans Almost Went Extinct

Trumpeter swans almost went extinct during the early 1900s—fewer than 100 were in the Lower 48 at one point. Dedicated conservation work in recent decades has brought their numbers back up into the thousands. Learn about extinct bird species that shouldn’t be forgotten.

Swan Facts: Mute Swans Came From Europe

Europeans brought mute swans to North America during the late 1800s and early 1900s. They valued swans for the elegance the birds added to parks, ponds and lakes.

Check out our guide for birdwatching in different habitats.

Swan Facts: What Do Swans Eat?

Mute swans have a big appetite—one study found that they can eat up to 8 pounds of food per day! Swans primarily eat water plants and may graze on short grass. They also occasionally eat invertebrates and insects. Avoid feeding swans bread or crackers.

Psst, here’s how to attract birds that don’t visit bird feeders.

Swan Facts: The Swan Lake Ballet Was Unpopular at First

Swan Lake, the first ballet written by the famous composer Tchaikovsky, premiered in 1877. Now beloved by ballet fans, it was considered a failure initially.

Next, check out 7 types of ducks to look for this spring.