The Madigan Swans Story

The Madigan Swans Story

A male and female pair of Mute Swans arrived at Madigan on January 27, 1993. They came to Madigan on a mission—to add grace and character to the Madigan Ponds as well as to help keep the Canada geese away. Mute Swans are territorial and aggressive toward other wildlife, thus making good guardians.

Mute Swans are native to northern and central Eurasia. They were introduced into North America more than a hundred years ago to grace the ponds of parks and estates. The Mute Swan is a member of the duck family and one of the heaviest flying birds with adult males weighing up to 26 pounds and having average wingspans of 90 inches. Mute Swans can live up to 20 years and are easily identified by their white plumage, long curved neck and orange, black-knobbed bill.

A “Name that Swan” competition was held in 1996. The winner was ‘Lewi’ for the male swan named after Fort Lewis, and ‘Madi’ for the female swan, named after Madigan. Mute Swans are by nature monogamous for life and even though our present happy couple is not the original pair, they will forever be called Madi and Lewi.

Madi and Lewi are well taken care of by the staff veterinarians in the Department of Clinic Investigation and fed twice a day with healthy and nutritious food. To supplement their diet, Madi and Lewi are frequently seen bobbing upside down as they feed on the aquatic vegetation on the bottom of the ponds.

Madi and Lewi have become iconic figures here at Madigan. They are Madigan’s mascots and ambassadors of good will. Their beauty, elegance, and stoic presence serve to provide comfort and therapy to those in need.

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