Trumpeter Swan


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Birds In Flight

Size:

15" long, by 7" high, by 6" wide

Price: $132.99 US


Description:

Also known as the Trumpeter Swan, this species is the largest swan in the world. It is white with a long neck it stretches straight out in front while in flight.

Behavior:

The birds arrive in Alberta in April and move north as the lakes and sloughs open in the spring. Fall migration starts at freeze-up in October or November. They fly south only as far as they need to find an area of shallow lakes and streams with food and open water.

Food:

Aquatic plants and insects, snails. Adults eat up to 9 kg each per day. Their long necks and powerful bills allow them to reach down and pull up roots and stems other birds can't reach.

Breeding:

Trumpeter swans usually mate for life. Their big, bulky nests are mounds of reeds, rushes, roots and grasses lined with fresh swan's down. They're often built on top of beaver lodges, muskrat houses or small islands.

In mid-May, the female lays five or six eggs which she incubates until they hatch about 32 days later. The cygnets stay in the nest only about 24 hours until they can keep themselves warm. They have very little food reserve and must quickly start feeding.

Adult swans are flightless for about a month when they moult in the summer. As a result, male and female trumpeters moult at different times so one adult in a breeding pair will be able to fly while the other stays with the cygnets.

Lifespan:

Up to 35 years in captivity, 12 years in the wild.

Management and Outlook:

Overall, trumpeter swans in North America are a conservation success story. Their outlook is bright. Biologists in the U.S. are trying to relocate wintering birds from the Snake River to other suitable habitats in Wyoming, Utah and southern Idaho. Since 1987, Canadian biologists have attempted with some success to re-introduce trumpeters to their former breeding area in Elk Island National Park.

All swans in Canada are protected.


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