The Trumpeter Swan is the
heaviest of all native North American birds. They were hunted nearly to
extinction during the 19th and early 20th centuries, but have recovered somewhat
since the 1940s. They are often quite sensitive to human disturbance,
although in recent decades, local populations have become accustomed to a human
presence in parks and reservoirs.
Habitat: Favors large shallow water bodies with
abundant vegetation, including shallow lakes, ponds, and large rivers.
They will also use saltwater bays in the wintertime.
Diet: Primarily feeds on aquatic
plants. They may also feed on waste grain and terrestrial grasses,
especially in the winter when other food sources aren't available. Only
very young cygnets eat insects and crustaceans.
Behavior: Forages by swimming, taking food items
from the water's surface, water's edge, or by tipping and extending the head
down to grab food from underwater. They will also forage on land.
Nesting: April through July
Song: Rich, resonating honking.
Migration: Many populations in the lower 48 states are
non-migratory. Those in Canada and Alaska, however, do move southward as
waters begin to freeze.
Conservation Status: Trumpeter Swans once nested over much of North America, but
were nearly wiped out in the Lower 48 by 1940. Numbers have rebounded
locally in many locations, particularly in the Pacific Northwest, and efforts
are underway to reintroduce the species into many parts of their historic range.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology - Trumpeter Swan
Whatbird.com: Trumpeter Swan
Photo Information: August 26th, 2004 --
Yellowstone National Park, between Madison Junction and West Yellowstone --
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Trumpeter Swan photos.