Featured in ImageWriting Group – July 17, 2009
The Trumpeter Swan, Cygnus buccinator, is the largest native North American bird, if measured in terms of weight and length, and is (on average) the largest living waterfowl species on earth. The feathers of the head and the upper part of the neck often become stained orange as a result of feeding in areas rich in iron salts.
Males typically measure from 145 to 163 centimetres (57 to 64 in) and weigh 11.8 kilograms (26 lb); females typically range from 139 to 150 centimetres (55 to 59 in) and weigh 10 kilograms (22 lb). The average wingspan is 2.03 metres (6.7 ft).1. It is rivaled in size among waterfowl only by the introduced Mute Swan, which is native to Eurasia, but the Trumpeter usually is longer-bodied. Exceptionally large male Trumpeters can reach a length of 183 centimetres (72 in), a wingspan of 3 metres (9.8 ft) and a weight of 17.4 kilograms (38 lb). The Trumpeter Swan is closely related to the Whooper Swan of Eurasia, and even has been considered the same species by some authorities.
These birds have white plumage with a long neck, a black bill subtly marked with salmon-pink along the mouth line, and short black legs. The cygnets (juveniles) are gray in appearance, becoming white after the first year.
Their breeding habitat is large shallow ponds and wide slow rivers in northwestern and central North America, with the largest numbers of breeding pairs found in Alaska. Natural populations of these swans migrate to and from the Pacific coast and portions of the United States, flying in V-shaped flocks. Released populations are mostly non-migratory.
Lots more to be read about the Trumpeter Swan here:
Photographed near Destruction Bay, Yukon, Canada
Canon EOS 50D