Trumpeter swan

I was out at the migratory bird sanctuary last week, and got to see and photograph up close a trumpeter swan…a first for me! They don’t usually hang out in the sanctuary. I was very excited. He was gliding around in the long slough that runs alongside the entry road, just inside the sanctuary gates, and didn’t seem bothered at all by the attention he was getting from me and a couple of other visitors. When I paid my entry, I commented about the swan to the attendant, and she said he’d been there for three days, and hoped he wasn’t hurt because the rest of the swans had now departed the surrounding area for points north. When I got home that night, and downloaded my day’s photos onto my computer, I went immediately to the swan captures. I think I’m not mistaken in thinking this poor guy is hanging around because he’s having trouble flying — it looks to me as if his flight feathers have taken a real beating! I had noticed when watching him that he kept refolding his wings, as if they didn’t feel right to him. In the stretch image, you can really see how many of his feathers are lacking vanes, or at least have really ratty looking vanes. I can’t help but wonder how he ended up like that. Hopefully, he didn’t suffer any injury as well. If he’s otherwise okay, and doesn’t go for walkabouts, he at least is in a safe place until his new feathers grow in. At this time of year there should be plenty of aquatic plant material for him to eat, there are a couple of cultivated fields adjacent to the slough (inside the sanctuary) for him to meander around, and if he swims up to the other end of the slough he will find the parking lot and lots of visitors happy to give him some grain.

He looked so elegant and regal swimming around in the slough, I do so hope he’s going to be okay.

23 thoughts on “Trumpeter swan

    • Thank you, Cybele. I was surprised a lone wild swan was so unruffled by the proximity of people…altho this was day 3 of his presence, so perhaps he had seen the geese and ducks being unafraid and possibly fed and had already learned…he looked like he was thinking of approaching me at one point.

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    • Well, I don’t know what she could have done, Alix. Preventive action as in…? Short of trying to catch him if he is flightless, there’s really not anything they could have done. And it’s a sanctuary for migratory birds, so I think the folks out there are pretty hands-off. I could be wrong. I see the fact that he ended up inside the sanctuary as a good thing. There will be food for him there, and a level of safety, with lots of cover and water, and lots of resident Canada geese for company.


      • What I thought could have been done was to take the bird in a sanctuary for birds that are either at-risk or endangered and cannot be released because of injuries sustained in the wild. My opinion.


      • Well, if he is injured that would still be an option, I’m only assuming he can’t fly because of the way his feathers look in my photos. The day I was there the attendant didn’t know if he was injured or just stopping over. He was just there in the slough near the gates one morning when the sanctuary opened. It was only his third day at the sanctuary and he didn’t appear too stressed, he was hanging out with a few geese and ducks and last time I saw him his head and neck were submerged feeding normally. I would imagine even if they were in the habit of interfering they would want to make sure he was in real trouble before stressing him out by trying to catch him. I’ve been trying to get back out there to see if he’s still there, but the days I could go it’s been pouring with rain, and a bit of a long drive just to drop by.

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