The iconic outdoor swan statue that nests near the Elk Rapids Chamber of Commerce may not be as friendly as once thought. According to the Michigan DNR, the landmark swan is an invasive species for the Northern Michigan town.  MyNorth Media would like to thank the Elk Rapids Chamber of Commerce for the following content.

A Friendlier Swan Comes to Elk Rapids

The Swan has been an icon and a landmark for visitors in Elk Rapids for many years. Thanks to a recent history lesson from Hank Bailey, Elder in the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, it appears we need a friendlier swan to welcome people to Elk Rapids.

Trumpet Swan

Trumpet Swan

A Trumpeter Swan, with a black bill, is native to Michigan and currently on our state’s threatened species list due to the invasion of the Mute Swan, with an orange bill.

Mute Swan

Mute Swan

A quote from the DNR website brochure, Protecting Our Trumpeter Swan What is the DNR Doing? Mute Swans Invading Michigan’s Waters:

A single mute swan can consume four to eight pounds of plants a day. They uproot and destroy these wetland plants that are a main food source for native birds and cover for native fish and invertebrates. Continuous feeding by a flock of mute swans can destroy an entire wetland ecosystem. Mute Swans threaten humans. These large birds show little fear of people. Each year the DNR receives reports of Mute Swan attacks on people in boats and on the shore

Though hunting Mute Swans is not allowed, the DNR issues permits to remove Mute Swans and/or their nests and eggs. There are many conservation groups that support DNR’s drastic reduction of Mute Swans numbers such as: The National Audubon Society, Ducks Unlimited, The American Bird Conservancy and many more. Decreasing Mute Swan populations, and therefore reducing conflicts, is only possible with help from local landowners.

Students of the Elk Rapids High school have been recruited to paint the swan’s bill so that it reflects the welcoming community of Elk Rapids. The Elk Rapids Chamber wishes to thank Hank Bailey for bringing attention to this issue, as we certainly do not want to portray an image of a predator in our waters.

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Photo(s) by Elk Rapids Chamber of Commerce