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Mute Swans are very large waterfowl. They have heavy bodies, short legs, and a long, slender neck habitually held in a graceful S. The large, flat bill has a bulging knob at the base. Mute Swans are entirely white with a bill that is orange with a black base. Young swans (cygnets) may be dusky brown-gray all over, with a gray-black bill. Mute Swans spend most of their time floating on the water. They feed by grazing on underwater vegetation in shallow water, tipping up their bodies if necessary. These aggressive birds often hold their wings half-raised in a display as they swim toward an intruder. Look for Mute Swans in city-park ponds, as well as rivers, lakes, and estuaries - The Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Banner Marsh is a man-made marsh area, created many years ago through strip-mining. This area was turned into a state wildlife area, and is over 4,000 acres. There are over 200 bodies of water on this land. A levee to the Illinois River borders the property.
Having never photographed mute swans, I was quite impressed with their size! Also wondering why they were called "mute", we quickly found out that they are not really mute as a swan began its takeoff to another area. It was difficult to tell if the sound was from the power of its great wings, but there was soft vocalization with each wing flap. After a little reading, I found that mute swans do have some grunting vocalizations.