Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Trumpeter Swan

Last Wednesday, John Holden and I checked out Point Douglas Park in Washington County, near the junction of the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers. We found a few waterfowl, including this Trumpeter Swan. Coincidentally, this location is the same as where I last blogged on the species in December 2010. In that post I discussed the reestablishment of these swans in North America.

Identifying field marks of this swan include the long, straight bill, the lack of yellow in front of the eye, and the overall large size. Tundra Swans are smaller and usually have yellow on the bill, which has a more curved profile.

Despite a number of challenges to the swans’ success, Trumpeter Swans are on the increase. In 2005, a continent-wide survey came up with 34,803 of these swans, an increase of over 11,000 birds in five years (Mitchell and Eichholz 2010). Challenges, however, include disturbance at their nesting and roosting sites, shooting, environmental contamination, and habitat degradation and destruction.

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