Friday, December 5, 2014

An Eagle and Trumpeter Swans

Mr. W is the Eagle Eye.. he spots some great photo ops for me on our road trips (sadly, I don’t always capture them the way I like). Thanks to Mr. Eagle Eye, we have been fortunate enough to observe a nice flock of Trumpeter Swans along our regular route for the past few weeks. At first, Mr. W remarked, “hey, some snow geese.” However, after I took the zoomed but blurry pics I realized they looked far too graceful to be snow geese. Trumpeter Swans they are! We have been back through that route several times since that first day. Today I was able to capture some non-blurry shots. Yay! I’ll make you wait to the end of this post for that though.

We spotted a bald eagle today also. Such a majestic and glorious bird!



“Our” Swan Flock…

I have included a little info from Missouri Department of Conservation on Trumpeter Swans in Missouri below. Also, I reported our sightings to the conservation department, but haven’t heard back if they have actually investigated “our” local flock or not.

“Family: Anatidae (ducks, geese, swans) in the order Anseriformes
Description: An all-white swan with a wingspan of nearly 8 feet. They fly with their extraordinarily long necks outstretched. Distinguished from tundra swan by its straight upper bill and the broad base of the bill against the eye, making the eye appear as part of the bill from a distance. Voice is a low trumpetlike sound; that of the young is higher and more nasal.
Size: Length: 60 inches (tip of bill to tip of tail).
Habitat and conservation: Formerly a common migrant statewide and summer resident in northern Missouri. Currently, individuals and family groups winter in Missouri, foraging in shallow water. Some birds may be from the wild population of the Nebraska Sandhills, but most are from captive breeding programs. If you see trumpeter swans with neck collars, use your binoculars to see the color and numbers of the collar, and report them to the Missouri Department of Conservation.
Foods: Trumpeter swans forage in shallow water on aquatic vegetation, roots, seeds, and insects.
Distribution in Missouri: Statewide.
Status: Rare winter resident at marshes, lakes, and rivers; formerly a common migrant statewide and summer resident in northern Missouri. A Species of Conservation Concern, it is considered critically imperiled in our state.
Life cycle: Trumpeter swans breed usually in freshwater habitats with dense emergent vegetation, as in inland waters and ponds. Nests are constructed of emergent vegetation and feathers, on the ground surrounded with water. Four to 6 eggs are laid; these are incubated for 33–37 days, and the young fledge in 91–119. Breeding in Missouri is extremely rare but may become more common in the future.
Human connections: There are only about 5,000 trumpeter swans in the Midwest, and they are considered extirpated from our state. Hunters who shoot trumpeter swans risk thousands of dollars in fines and possible jail. If you’re hunting snow geese, make sure you can distinguish between them and trumpeter swans!
Ecosystem connections: 
Swans, geese, and other aquatic grazers are important components of wetland, pond, and lake ecosystems, pruning the steadily growing vegetation and insect populations. In turn, these birds, especially their vulnerable eggs and young, provide food for carnivores.”

As you will see from the excerpt above, they are still considered imperiled and extirpated from our State. It warms my heart to see so many healthy Trumpeters in one flock! Also, my favorite book as a 10 or 11 year old girl was The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White. I’ve always been a bit partial to geese and swans. This has definitely been a highlight of my 2014 to say the least. They are incredibly beautiful and graceful birds.

Enjoy your weekend! Hope you can get out there and enjoy some nature in your neck of the woods!



Osage Bluff Quilter said...

We have cousins in Iowa that have raised a couple of pairs through some program. They were always sad to see them go.

One year they had to retrieve them from a flash flood.

Beautiful pictures!

TexWisGirl said...

how awesome! the eagle makes me so envious, but the trumpet swans are so cool to have near!

Ni de Aqui, Ni de Alla said...

Pretty pictures! I also liked the music.

Cheryl @ TFD said...

I love the Bald Eagles and it always just makes my day when I spot one. I see them more frequently these days. It's wonderful to see them making a comeback. I haven't yet seen a Trumpeter Swan. Thanks for including the info about them. They are beautiful!
Enjoy your weekend!

noodlecat said...


Thought we would drop by and take a peek...great blog!
Come by and visit us at;

Noodle and crew

Leslie @ Farm Fresh Fun said...

What fun I've had once again... Your pics and updates always cheer me. Congrats on the gorgeous wedding!!! AND home changes. :-) The swans made me giggle as I remembered last year when a flock flew overhead... My kids had switched my phone ringer to a duck call, and I'd just been spinning around trying to see ducks (unaware it was my own phone ringing). Then swans flew past calling and I didn't believe they were real either. Figured it all out just in time to laugh n enjoy the beautiful sight as they sailed off!
Wishing you a glorious Christmas season!

Thistle Cove Farm said...

those swans are lovely and as majestic as the eagles. we've lots of eagles around here, raising their young, eating dead stuff -yuck-, etc.

Unknown said...

Great capture Tammy. The eagle is amazing! I had no idea the swans were that big? Thanks for sharing the information about them, so interesting.

Deanna said...

Gorgeous photos. You are so lucky to have spotted those swans. What a find! And then the Bald Eagle to boot. Wow.
We've been to Coopers Oak a couple of time. The owners are so friendly that we always love going back. Your chair is just plain cool.

Debbie said...

No trumpeter swans around here, all Canadians. It is the season for bald eagles on the Illinois River, which is a few blocks from here. I love bird watching and hope someday to see one of those trumpeters in person. In the meantime I'll enjoy your pics! Happy Christmas!

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