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Swan Lake – White Swan Habitat and Reproduction

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Picture of Grace and Beauty

Pictures of beautiful places will often times have a swan or two, gracefully floating in a stream or lake. Animals that depict both graceful movements and icons of peaceful times always bring us to think about the swan.

White swans are associated with peace, serenity and grace. The white swan comes in a variety of species, though each different to their native regions. The habitat of the white swan depends on the species and the area they are residing, however, the species do tend to search for the same components in their choice of habitat.

Trumpeter Swans

Introduction to the Trumpeter Swan

The trumpeter swan is a beautiful fowl, known by the pure white coloring of the body and head, juxtaposed black bills that lie flat and black legs that blend with the bill. The largest of the waterfowl in the United States, they display a bold red line that separates the upper and lower mouth. Their long necks enable them to bellow a deep trumpeting call that sounds like a deep tenored horn, with a bit of a squeal.

The trumpeter population is vegetarian. They search below the surface for plant leaves and stems and are able to rip up hidden roots and shoots hiding on the bottom of the lake. Trumpeter swans will feast among waterweed, sago pondweed, water milfoil and duck potato. New cygnets dine on water beetles, at least until they are five weeks of age. Cygnets add some smaller crustaceans to their meals as well. At five weeks, they have switched over to a complete vegetarian diet.

Due to the reduction in population of the trumpeter swan because of hunting, loss of habitat, power line collisions, illegal shooting, and lead poisoning, they have been returned to various areas in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa and Ontario to save the species. There are plans to add the species along the Chesapeake Bay area as well, relocating the trumpeter to the east coast.

Habitat

If we begin with the trumpeter swan, we find the Cygnus buccinators in the Pacific coastal region, with approximately 15,000 birds in population, that migrate southward toward the Columbia River region. The Rocky Mountain population of trumpeters, with a population of approximately 2,500 birds, flock together in two different groups. A flock that maintains the regional habitat hangs out around the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in Montana and a Canadian flock joins them in the winter. The interior population of swans includes about 900 birds, which also houses the trumpeter swans east of the Rockies and is the result of thirty years of reintroducing the birds to the area.

The summer finds the swans swimming in the swamps, marshes and shallow lakes that are forested. They tend to find the human visitors and their noisy tendencies rather annoying, so they vacate the area. During the winter months, swans need to follow food sources and dining through icy waters is impossible. Flying to areas that host sheltered coastlines and estuaries, they can create their perfect winter vacationing spots.

Reproduction

Trumpeter swans find their true love in a mate and stick with him or her for life. The courtship ritual begins at about two or three years of age. This process begins during the colder winter months. A graceful, synchronized swimming routine starts, with some bubbles blown in the water and a duet singing of songs. Once they have courted, the two will not begin to nest for a year or two.

Once they are “married”, the two newlyweds begin searching for their new home. While the ice is still on the ground, the couple will settle in to a good home and begin the claim staking process of ensuring the property is suitable. There are ample supplies of food, lush vegetation, privacy for the newlywed couple, and plenty of room for those early morning and late night landings. If all is well in the area, it will become the place to start a new family.

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