Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Watery Wednesday: Trumpeter Swan

Man has really made an impact on the world in which we live and the wildlife that share the land, skies, and water. The trumpeter swan is a great example of how man can be either a detrimental or beneficial influence or sometimes we can be both.
The largest waterfowl in North America, with a wingspan that can reach lose to eight feet long, the trumpeter swan was brought to the brink of extinction. During the 1600 to 1800s these birds were hunted for their feathers. The large flight feathers were considered the best feathers to use for writing quills while smaller feathers where often used to adorn clothing and hats. Between hunting and habitat loss the population decreased until in 1933 there were less then 100 birds in North America, mostly in remote Rocky Mountain areas in the north western US, Canada and Alaska.
With the formation of the Endangered Species Act and other laws protecting threatened species things began to turn around. Concerned groups, as well as the DNR in numerous states, worked to repopulate the species in many of the places in which they were originally found. Now days the trumpeter swan has become quite common in the Midwest portion of the US. In Minnesota where I live we have a healthy population of trumpeters nesting in the state and a large population, that numbers in the thousands, that winters in areas where the water remains unfrozen. So as far as the trumpeter goes man has been a devastating force but we realized our mistake before it was to late in this case, and have worked to right the wrongs of our past. Hopefully the trumpeter can be an example to people of how we should treat many other species that we currently abuse.


sixstars said...

Awesome wingspan. Very informative post.

Arija said...

A great post of a magnificent bird! Beautiful photography and sensitive writing.

madcobug said...

That is a beautiful bird with an interesting history. Glad that they have made a comeback. Helen

Peg Abbott said...

You have captured, in your words and photo much of why we exist, The Trumpeter Swan Society - www. trumpeterswansociety.org. It is marvelous to see restored populations on the wing. We are launching a Citizen Science effort now to track where these successful breeders spend the winter. I encourage you and your readers to support our efforts on beahlf of this magnificent species, captured so well in your photos. Thank you for sharing your experience.

Peg Abbott, The Trumpeter Swan Society