Monday, February 29, 2016

Trumpeter Swan

Erika and I counted 21 Trumpeter Swans on 27 February. We hiked along the edge of the Minnesota River at the Bass Ponds at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Trumpeter Swans were once common and widespread. Over-harvested by the feather trade, by 1935 only 69 birds remained. Reintroduction and strict management saved Trumpeter Swans. In 2000, about 2300 birds were censused; by 2010 the population is thought to be over 46,000 (Wikipedia). Now there are over 2400 wild Trumpeter Swans in Minnesota alone (MN DNR). The DNR notes that the main threats to swans include ingestion of lead shot, habitat destruction, collisions with power-lines, and illegal shooting.

Adults are the largest of the North American waterfowl. They are usually all-white. Sometimes their heads and necks sport a golden-brown stain, obtained from the iron-rich water and mud in which they often forage (Mitchell and Eichholz 2010).


  1. "by 1935 only 69 birds remained", excluding the Alaskan population, which wasn't known about until years later and is the source of most of the reintroduced birds. (right?)

    1. Read that as “only 69 bird were known to remain."