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.