by 7" high, by 6" wide
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
to 35 years in captivity, 12 years in the wild.
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.
swans in Canada are protected.