It's been a long time since I posted my favourite waterfowl.
Originally native to Ontario, the trumpeter swan disappeared from Eastern Canada early in the 20th century. Restoration efforts were initiated in the early 1980s to reintroduce the trumpeter swan to its former range. Through conservation efforts the Ontario population has reached 1000, with at least 131 breeding pairs, and the future looks bright.Fortunately, efforts to recover Trumpeter Swans have been undertaken throughout many parts of its former range and almost all swan populations have increased in the latter half of this century. Trumpeter Swans are no longer listed as a species at risk but are still considered a threatened animal.
Trumpeter swans (Pen and cygnets)
The trumpeter swan gets its name from its trumpet-like call. It is regarded as the largest of all North American wildfowl. A trumpeter swan nest commonly consists of a mass of emergent vegetation such as cattail or bulrush. It is large measuring 5 feet in diameter, 1-2 feet high, and weighing one hundred pounds. Sometimes they will nest on a muskrat house or beaver lodge. They build their nests in May, and the young usually hatch in June. The eggs are cream-colored, and they normally lay 4-6 eggs. The female does most of the incubating. It takes 33-37 days for the eggs to hatch.
Trumpet swan cygnets are typically born gray in color and steadily lose their gray plumage becoming pure white by the time they are one year old. Sometimes rare white cygnets are born, these cygnets are termed “leucistic” meaning white, and retain white plumage throughout their juvenile and adult years. The bill of adult leucistic trumpeter swans remains black.
Cygnets fledge (fly for the first time) in late September and early October. So it can take up to 110-120 days , to go from the time they are born to the time they fledge.
Adult female trumpeter swans weigh between 20-25 lbs, averaging about 21-22 lbs.
Trumpeter swans have been known to live 29 years in the wild, whereas a swan raised in captivity survived for 32 1/2 years. In the wild, however, typical survival age ranges from 15-25 years.
Trumpeter swans feed on submerged aquatic vegetation and on occasion aquatic invertebrates. Sometimes in the spring, they can be observed feeding on green grass. But this is very rare.
They feed in slow shallow water and dip their heads below the surface of the water. In deep water, they can only feed as deep as their neck will extend. Under these circumstances they balance with their legs and tail out of the water.
In a standing position, trumpeter swans are approximately 4 feet high. However, if the neck and legs are outstretched they can measure nearly 6 feet long from bill to feet. The wingspan (length from wing tip to wint tip) of the trumpeter swan varies between young and adults and between females and males. Wingspans in adults can vary from 6to 8 feet.
Male swans are called “cobs”, female swans are called “pens” and young swans up to one year of age are called “cygnets”.