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Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan
Photo Information
Copyright: Richard Vincent (earthtraveler) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 427 W: 123 N: 947] (3483)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-01-15
Categories: Birds
Camera: Panasonic DMC-FZ50
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/320 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Trumpeter Swans [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-01-25 8:29
Viewed: 5233
Points: 28
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Status and Distribution, Historical Record

Trumpeter Swans were once fairly common throughout most of the northern United States and Canada. Market hunting and the millinery trade rapidly depleted nesting populations during the 19th century. Swan skins were sold in the fur trade to Europe where they were used to make ladies' powder puffs and feathers were used to adorn fashionable hats.

Trumpeters nested in Minnesota and Wisconsin until the 1880s. In Minnesota, the species occurred in the prairie and parkland areas of western, central, and northern portions of the state. In Wisconsin, Trumpeters may have nested in all but the northeastern forested regions, most likely in large marshes or shallow lakes. Elsewhere in the Midwest, the Trumpeters' historic breeding range reached from western Nebraska to central Michigan. It extended as far north and east as James Bay in Canada.

By 1900, it was widely believed that the species had become extinct. Fortunately, a small nonmigratory population survived in the remote mountain valleys of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. Two nests were found in Yellowstone National Park in 1919; and in 1932, 69 Trumpeters were documented in the region. We now know that a population of several thousand Trumpeters also survived in remote parts of Alaska and Canada.

In 1935, the U.S. government established Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in Montana's Centennial Valley to protect the remnant Trumpeter population. Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
habitat conditions quickly improved when refuge personnel restricted livestock grazing and hay cutting in the marshes, protected the muskrat population (Trumpeters use muskrat houses for nesting), provided winter food, controlled predators (now no longer necessary), and more recently prohibited the use of lead shot and lead fishing sinkers because of the danger of lead poisoning.

With protection at Red Rock Lakes and in the adjacent Yellowstone National Park, the Tristate, (southwestern Montana, eastcentral Idaho, and northwestern Wyoming) Subpopulation, as it is now known, increased to 640 birds by the late 1950s.
In an attempt to expand their range and chances of survival, Trumpeters have been transplanted to locations with suitable habitat. In 1938, four cygnets were taken to the National Elk Refuge in Jackson, Wyoming. Over the next 30 years, Trumpeters were moved to several western refuges and as far east as Hennepin County, Minnesota, where a pair of Red Rock Lakes' cygnets were obtained by Hennepin Parks in 1966. Hennepin Parks had obtained a total of 40 more Red Rock Lakes' Trumpeters by 1970.

Between the mid-1960s and the mid-1980s, the Tristate Subpopulation declined. Productivity plunged in the late 1970s, and by 1986 only 392 birds remained. Concern over the decline led to an extensive study that demonstrated a close relationship between swan survival and the availability of winter foods (primarily native foods and supplemental grain) at Red Rock Lakes. High winter losses occurred when little grain was provided; this was the case in the early 1980s when refuge personnel put out the least amount of grain in the refuge's history.

In 1987 and 1988, marked increases in supplemental winter grain coupled with favorable weather led to a dramatic increase in the number of cygnets produced at areas in and adjacent to Red Rock Lakes. In 1988, there were 601 birds in the Tristate Subpopulation. Severe winter weather, however, and reduced flows on the Henry's Fork River in Idaho during the winter of 1988-89 caused the death of about 100 swans, including migrants from Canadian flocks. In 1989, the Tristate Subpopulation stood at 565 birds.

For management purposes, Trumpeters are divided into populations based on their range. About 1,000 Trumpeters occur in western Canada and include birds that migrate to the Tristate area. Many of these-swans nest in the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. Together with summer resident Tristate swans, these birds comprise the Rocky Mountain Population.

There are nearly 12,000 Trumpeter Swans in Alaska. These birds, combined with western Canadian flocks and restoration flocks from western refuges, comprise the Pacific Coast Population.

A third population, the Interior Population, is made up of flocks east of the Rocky Mountains and numbers about 500 birds. Midwestern restoration flocks belong to the Interior Population.
Once considered for federal 'endangered' status, the Trumpeter is not officially listed as threatened or endangered. In the Midwest, however, it is actually more rare than the threatened Bald Eagle. It has no official state status in Midwestern states, except in Wisconsin, where it is listed as an endangered species, and in Michigan, where it is a threatened species.

Source; DNR website

Aperture Priority
ISO 100
F-Stop 5.6
Exp 1/320 sec
Lens 420mm + 1.7X LT55, 714mm equivalent

Thanks for taking a look and sharing your thoughts.

pankajbajpai, jaycee, Jamesp, eqshannon, Alex99, Adanac, Necipp has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

hello richard,
niecly captured swan, liked the composition and the pov, the blue water with nice reflections look beautiful,
well done,
tfs & regards

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-01-25 8:39]

Hi Richard,

A very pretty swan with wonderful shades of white. The water is absolutely beautiful. A perfect blue with great ripples and reflection.


  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2008-01-25 8:53]

Hi Richard

Excellent note and posting. I have been lucky enough to observe Trumpeters in Yellowstone. They are very closely related to the Eurasian Whooper Swan - the largest concentration of which overwinters a few miles from my home - I tried to get there today but the road was flooded!!

Anyway - great detail and colour too!


She's a beauty Richard... Nice capture. full frame full of colour. I like tote bright day approach here..it works well...It is a classic image shot with some skill!

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-01-25 10:01]

Hi Richard.
Excellent exposure of the difficult for shooting subject. I like all. Perfect composition, graceful pose of the charming swan, exact framing and composition and superb details/sharpness of the image. My compliments and TFS.

Hello Richard,
Superb informative and useful notes that comes with a good posting!
good clarity, natural colour and details in the shot
well done
have a wonderful weekend!

  • Great 
  • demeve Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 586 W: 12 N: 1682] (6165)
  • [2008-01-25 21:43]

Hello Richard,
Wonderful capture of this beautiful Swan, you managed
the white colors very well, great POV and composition
Very well done..


Hi Richard
Superb photo with nice contrast between the two colors
Have a nice W-E

  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2008-01-26 6:59]

Perfect exposure on this one Richard, the sharpness is very good and the composition is fine, very good work, thanks !


  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2008-01-27 2:01]

Hi Richard,
Appreciate and like this wonderful shot from you. Out of town, hence doing a short job. Sorry friend.

Hello Richard very interesting swan different from our ones with the black beak compared to orange/red to ours. good focus POV and composition tfs rgds Necip.

  • Great 
  • vral Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 65 W: 1 N: 218] (1049)
  • [2008-01-28 0:58]

Hello Richard,

Very attractive swan.DOF and POV are great. BG is cool.



  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2008-01-28 17:36]

Hi Richard,
Great details in the white and the colors are fantastic. The overall composition is very pleasing, thanks for sharing.

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-02-03 17:54]

Hello Richard

A beautiful capture of this Trumpeter Swan.I have seen them fly through here at migration times but have never managed a shot.
The lighting is excellent with rich,well saturated colours.
The blue and white work very well together.
Very good exposure.


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