Friday, December 10, 2010

Trumpeter Swans - A Wonder of Nature

Once hunted nearly to extinction, the massive Trumpeter Swan is making a comeback. They are the largest waterfowl species native to North America. Adult birds are solid white, except for their beaks and feet, and they make a very distinctive sound. Trumpeter swans weigh up to 30 lb birds with up to 8-foot wingspans.

Normally, these guys live in the Midwest, Alaska and even Wyoming, but never as far South as Arkansas. The phenomena started when 3 swans showed up on the lake in the winter of 1991. It's believed these guys were the "pilgrims" of the current Magness swans. The following winter a Minnesota swan that had been banded visited the lake with her mate. In 1993, that same swan was spotted with her mate and three cygnets (baby swans). Since then, the numbers have fluctuated, but upwards of 150 swans have been spotted on the lake at one time.

It's believed the original 3 got knocked off course by a storm. They must have liked what they found, because they came again . . . and brought their friends and family. We will never be sure what brought them so far south.

This gorgeous oil painting by artist April Shurgar portrays the lovely birds at their best. At just $550, the painting is a steal.

(c) 2009 - Ruth Mitchell - all rights reserved

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