Maplewood State Park, MN.

Trumpet Swan Family
Trumpet Swan Family

When I was beach bumming in Southwest Florida for several years before becoming nomadic, I rode my bicycle, walked the beaches, hiked trails in National and state parks, along with kayaking scenic trails, and no matter where ever I roamed, I encountered an enormous variety of Florida birds. The images below were every day occurrences with fail. For years I’ve watched these variety of birds and I never new many were migratory snowbirds just like the fall and winter human snowbirds.

I was on my way to a trailhead north of Detroit Lakes, MN, when cruising along a two-lane roadway, music playing in the background and driving defensively, searching for animals to cross the road, when I peer at a lake to a bright white object, against the dark green vegetation and forest..

Several hours later, on my return, I slowed to capture the image of Trumpeter Swans leisurely paddling on a lake surrounded by tall grasses eating their fill.

Trumpeter Swans
Trumpeter Swans

They have heavy bodies with short, strong legs, large webbed feet, and long necks, making them well-adapted for feeding on aquatic vegetation in shallow marshes and lakes. Adult swans will consume about twenty pounds of leafy aquatic vegetation in one day.

I discovered Trumpeter Swans (Cygnus buccinator) can sometimes live up to twenty-five years, and the plumage on an adult trumpeter swan is pure white, with black bills and web feet. They weigh between twenty to thirty pounds and measure four to five feet in length. Their graceful well, extended necks are as long as their bodies, and their wingspan spreads to eight feet.

The adult males are called “cobs,” and adult females are called “pens,” as a pair like the above, they usually mate for life and typically begin nesting parents when they are aged three or four. They sometimes build their nest on a muskrat house entirely from marsh vegetation six to twelve feet across and eighteen inches high. They will defend aggressively up to one hundred acres surrounding the nest against other swans and predators.

The young swans in the photo above are called Cygnets and have hatched after a thirty to thirty-seven incubation. When born, the Cygnets have a light gray plumage with pinkish bills to feed primarily on aquatic insects and crustaceans during their first weeks. I captured these images in Maplewood State Park.

Cygnets keep their name until they’re a year old when they become a Cob or a Pen. While there is no specific term for a group of baby swans, a group of swans is called a flock.

Most swans leave their parents sometime between 5 and 10 months, although there are records showing that very occasionally, some pairs of birds still have at least one offspring right up the time just before the first egg in the next clutch hatches.

Trumpeter Swan migration Range Map
Trumpeter Swan migration Range Map

During my summer in Minnesota, I saw several trumpeter swan families paddling around a lake, but, The history of the Trumpeter Swan reveals human interaction caused the last record of a wild breeding population in Minnesota in about 1885, and the Trumpeter Swan was declared extirpated in the state by the mid-1900s. Minnesota’s swan reintroduction efforts began in 1966 and expanded in the 1980s, continuing through 2012.

Trumpeter Swans in Minnesota generally migrate to central and or southern Minnesota or nearby states over the winter where lakes are not frozen. Some reintroduced birds have been documented wintering in scattered locations as far south as Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas.

So, if you are traveling around the upper midwest of America and locate a Trumpeter Swan, capture its image because its a specie’s return is a success story.

Maplewood State Park MN

By Expedition Nomadic Adventurer

As a retiree travel blogger touring the US, voicing my wisdom, opinion, and thoughts about the retirement lifestyle and life in general. I'm an aspiring pre-published indie author of baby boomer romance and adventures with a whimsical comedic side. I photograph wildlife and landscapes, mountain, biking, kayaking, hiking, and backpacking. I travel the back roads and highways of America, Canada, and Mexico, documenting my adventures via print and photography.

2 thoughts on “Trumpeter Swans.”
  1. […] In my previous blog post, I highlighted Maplegrove, State Park, which became a daily destination, and a blog post about my adventures in capturing the images of the Trumpeter Swans. […]

  2. […] The rivers are an integral flying path for migratory birds of every type, and my time in Minnesota exposed me to the history of the Minnesota  Trumpeter Swans. […]

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