Today I am sharing images of swans I’ve photographed over the past several years.
Trumpeter Swans (Cygnus Buccinator) are North America’s largest waterfowl. Thy can have a 6 foot wingspan and weigh as much as 26 pounds. According to All About Birds, a Website from Cornell Labs: “They breed on wetlands in remote Alaska, Canada, and the northwestern U.S., and winter on ice-free coastal and inland waters.” The odd thing here is that I found some on the icy Yellowstone River in February.
The Tundra Swan (Cygnus Columbianus) is a winter migrant to the US. We see them winter over on the Pacific Flyway from late October through about the end of February. They nest on arctic tundra. The Tundra Swan is sometimes called a Whistling Swan.
The Mute Swan (Cygnus Olor) is not native to North America; it’s a European immigrant. It is the swan we see in ponds and lakes at parks, farms and estates. According to All About Birds: “ All of the Mute Swans in North America descended from swans imported from Europe from the mid 1800s through early 1900s to adorn large estates, city parks, and zoos. Escapees established breeding populations and are now established in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Great Lakes, and Pacific Northwest of the U.S.” The ones I am presenting may be from a wild colony or may be feral.
I found the Whooper Swans (Cygnus cygnus) in Iceland. According to Wikipedia, Whooper swans can migrate hundreds or even thousands of miles to their wintering sites in southern Europe and eastern Asia. They breed in subarctic Eurasia. Icelandic Whooper Swans breed and winter over in the United Kingdom and Ireland. They can have a wingspan of 9 feet and weigh over 30 pounds. Whooper Swans pair for life.
Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.