A Mink Meets Mute Swans on an October Afternoon

One of the best parts of wandering through the woods and sauntering along the shore is watching the encounters between different species. One sunny October afternoon I was taking photos of small birds, juncos, yellow-rumped warblers and white throated sparrows to be specific, when I noticed a pair of Mute Swans resting along the shore: and a mink approaching them.

Photo of Mute Swans Rest on NaturalCrooksDotCom

I turned to watch what might happen next. At first, the swans were unaware of the small predator. They had their heads tucked in and were facing the lake not the rocks where the mink was moving.

Photo of Mink On Shore on NaturalCrooksDotCom

Some sound or scent must have alerted them though, for first one, then the other turned to watch. I couldn’t hear it, but I could see the cobb hiss and warn off the mink.

Photo of Mink Spotted by Swans on NaturalCrooksDotCom

Whether the mink would have approached even if the birds had remained sleeping I can’t know. I doubt it though given the aggressive and violent nature of Mute Swans. It might have made a try for an egg or nestling but a full grown swan can easily kill a small creature.

Photo of Mink at Bay on NaturalCrooksDotCom

In this case, the mink stopped momentarily on the rocks to look at the two birds, then disappeared into a crevice. It did not reappear in the next five minutes. Still, I enjoyed seeing the small interplay and the suspense while I waited to see what, if anything, might happen.

Can a Mink Kill a Mute Swan?

According to the website of the British Swan Sanctuary mink do occasionally kill adult Mute Swans! There is also a question posted to a swan forum by a person who had a domestic Mute Swan which was killed by a mink.

Photo of Mink Prowl On NaturalCrooksDotCom

I’m surprised to see this given the difference in size.  I guess I was right to watch the interplay carefully as I might have seen something very dramatic if the swans hadn’t awakened.

I’ll have to keep an eye on the rocky shores of the Lake for any future Mink close encounters!

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