Length: 54-62 in Weight: 17-30 lbs
Distinguished from other swans by a solid black bill, relatively straight and long. A large white bird with black feet.
Breed in pockets between Alaska and the Great Lakes. Winter in the Midwest and north Pacific Coast.
Trumpeter Swans are the heaviest flying bird in North America. Their enormous size makes takeoff rather difficult – a swan needs a water runway at least 100 yards long to successfully take flight.
The Trumpeter Swans scientific name comes from the latin buccinare, meaning “to trumpet.” The buccinator is also a muscle found in the cheeks of mammals – humans use it to blow out air, such as when playing a trumpet.
Fresh Off the (Science) Press:
Overhunting for the feather market nearly drove Trumpeter Swans to extinction. The population plummeted to only 69 birds in 1935. After several decades of successful conservation, Trumpeter Swans have rebounded to over 60,000 birds in North America as of 2015 (USFWS 2015). However, they still face challenges due to lead poisoning, habitat loss, and human disturbance to nesting areas.
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