Photos courtesy Creative Commons
Watching trumpeter swans gliding on the open water is an incredible, beautiful sight. They’re the world’s largest waterfowl with a standing height of up to five feet, a wingspan from 7 to 8 feet, and weight ranging from 21 to 30 pounds. Despite their size, their gracefulness on the water is flawless.
And their calls are unmistakable. They sound like a trumpet.
In November, the trumpeter swans fly from Alaska to their wintering grounds in southern British Columbia, the Pacific Northwest, Northern Rockies, the Plains, and parts of the Upper Midwest and southern Ontario. In February and March, they start their long flight back to Alaska.
Here are some places you can see the trumpeter swans during the winter and their migrations. Look for them swimming in open water and foraging in open fields.
Comox Valley on the eastern side of Vancouver Island
Idaho Birding Trail, multiple locations throughout the state
Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, 27650B S Valley Road, Lima, Montana, (406) 276-3536
Johnson-Debay Swan Reserve, 22500 Debays Island Road, Mount Vernon, Washington
Northern Olympic Peninsula, in and around Sequim (pronounced SQUIM)
Trumpeter Swan festivals
A Celebration of Swans in the Yukon Territory welcomes spring and the return of the trumpeter swans to northern Canada. The event starts April 1 and ends in early May at Swan Haven on Marsh Lake, a half-hour drive southeast of Whitehorse on Highway 1.
Harriman State Park hosts a Trumpeter Swan Day on a Sunday in either January or February from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Activities include a guided nature walk at noon, kids’ activities, and swan origami.
The park is located at 3489 Green Canyon Road, Island Park, Idaho. Call (208) 558-7368 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Harriman State Park is 72 miles north of Idaho Falls and 357 miles northeast of Boise.
Learn more about trumpeter swans at these websites:
- Audubon Guide to North American Birds
- Northwest Swan Conservation Association
- The Trumpeter Swan Society