U.S. Court Returns MBTA Protection to Mute Swans

In a unanimous decision in U.S. Court of Appeals,District of Columbia Circuit on December 28, Migratory Bird Treaty Act protection was restored to Mute swans in America. Additionally, power to change regulatory matters was sent back to the U.S.Department of Interior.

The case was brought by a Maryland woman, Joyce Hill,on appeal. The Court decided the simplicity of the language in the Treaties could not be misunderstood.

It says "swans" are protected. It nowhere mentions the words alien or non-native, so that point was deemed not relevent. The Mute is a swan,and it is therefore protected.This is a victory for all swans, including the Trumpeter.


For more than fifteen years the Mute swan has been targeted for "management" and removal by U.S. Fish & Wildlife because of a variety of undocumented problem areas.

In the hunting states, the Trumpeter swan has been introduced, and although their numbers at around 23,000 continent wide,are almost as low as the Mutes at less than 20,000, the president of the Trumpeter Swan Society, Harvey Nelson, recently stated that TTSS would not object to an open swan season.

"This would not be acceptable to us," states Kathryn Burton, president of SaveOurSwans USA.

Writer/researcher Burton has been preparing a book on the swans in America for the past several years and approached Mrs.Hill, to offer support and assistance. Together they mounted a project that has wide support nationwide.

"Most people don't know what's been going on with the targeting of swans, but we've made inroads in at least eight states where the swans live. This court decision will be a tremendous help."

"We've already gotten great feedback from people who want to join in the fight, but I'll be blunt, not a single so-called enviromental group offered assistance in any way. Not even Audubon."

Well,actually, we didn't need them," Burton states. "We and the swans will have a great new year." Hill concludes, "but we are not stopping here."


CONTACT: Kathryn Burton, President
Save Our Swans USA
Phone (860)7397791

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