A mystery swan has taken up residence on the Rio Grande.
It idled in the backwater behind Albuquerque’s drinking water supply dam Monday afternoon as bird watchers converged to observe, record and puzzle.
Nearby were the usual crowds of ring-billed gulls, mallards, Canada geese and crows while the much larger “mute swan,” a native of Europe and northern Africa, milled about by itself.
Introduced to the northeastern United States, the swans have become something of an invasive pest there, said Hank Taliaferro, one of the bird-watchers peering through binoculars and a spotting scope Monday afternoon.
“It exploded over the mid-Atlantic region,” Taliaferro said.
The bird has become such a problem there that the state of New York has declared it an “invasive species,” because of its propensity to rip up underwater vegetation to dine on. But west of the Mississippi River, mute swans are a rare sight.
The swan, spotted by bird-watchers several times since Friday on the stretch of the Rio Grande from the Alameda Bridge area north to Sandia Pueblo, is the first New Mexico mute swan reported to eBird, the Internet bird reporting system run by Cornell University and the Audubon Society.
— This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal