Mute Swan

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Mute Swans are some of Galway’s most treasured and admired residents. Identifiable by their white plumage, orange-red bills, and long, slender necks, these birds are a common sight here all year round. Prolific on the city’s waterways, Mute Swans are most often found swimming near Spanish Arch and the Claddagh or relaxing in the more sheltered parts of the canals. Despite the name, these large birds are not silent - they make a rumbling sound when calling to each other and you may hear them hiss if you get too close! They feed on aquatic plants and occasionally small insects, snails, or amphibians. Mute Swans are believed to have been introduced to Ireland during Norman times. They feature heavily in Irish mythology, particularly in the legend of The Children of Lir. Illustration by Tara Burke @tazsketches