Trumpeter Swans

I still smile every time I think of the Trumpeter Swans I saw in Ohio last month. They were an unexpected treat, since I had no idea there were Trumpeters anywhere in the East. When I first saw them, I thought they must be Tundra Swans, which look very similar, because my bird book (Peterson’s Field Guide to Birds East of the Rockies, fourth edition) doesn’t even include Trumpeter Swans.

As I wandered the boardwalks in the area, I wondered what the loud, honking noise was that I heard echoing frequently over the marshes– Trumpeter Swans! These birds float gracefully and serenely in the marshes, dipping their long necks under to eat plant material and staining their heads and necks red with the ferrous minerals in the sediment.

Trumpeter Swans used to be native to that area, but were extirpated by over-hunting and loss of habitat in the 1800’s. In 1996 they were reintroduced to Ohio and now there is a breeding population of these majestic birds.

Trumpeter Swans are the largest North American waterfowl (20-30 pounds) with a wingspan of 6-8 feet and they can fly between 40 and 80 miles per hour. They mate for life and usually live about 15-20 years in the wild. They mate for life and build large nests, up to 6 feet in diameter, in marshes, and tend to reuse the same nest year after year.

I don’t know if this is a Trumpeter Swan nest, but it was very large with large eggs, so I think it might be

Links for more info:
Trumpeter Swans in Ohio
The Trumpeter Swan