The mute swan is probably one of the most striking sights within Tapijn. For a number of years, a pair of mute swans has been breeding in the reeds along the Jeker, opposite the animal park. Nature is rarely so ‘visible’; if you regularly walk through the city park, you will see the swans perform their mating dance, build their nests, mate, lay eggs, and, if you are lucky, you will witness the birth of the little cygnets. The cygnets are also very cute (there is no truth to the ugly duckling story).
Relationship with humans
Why we do what we do
Because of their stately appearance, swans have been kept as ornamental water birds in parks and castle gardens since the Middle Ages. In the first half of the 20th century, mute swans were frequently kept for their down. When the down market collapsed, the swans were released en masse and they mixed with wild mute swans. Since 2016, it is prohibited to keep and pinion swans, i.e. allowing them to swim freely but preventing them from flying away. Today, mute swans are still popular birds to feed in parks.