The Trumpeter Swan is the largest waterfowl species native to North America.
By 1900, it was widely speculated the species had been hunted to extinction for its feathers, skin, meat and eggs. Fortunately, a small nonmigratory population survived in the remote mountain valleys of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.
In the early 1950’s a large population were found in Alaska and today their numbers are estimated at close to 16,000.
A group of swans has many collective nouns including a “ballet”, “bevy”, “drift”, “regatta” and “school” of swans. A juvenile in its first year is called a cygnet.
These swans often mate for life. Most pair bonds are formed when the swans are 4 to 7 years old although some bonds do not form until they are 20 years old. “Divorces” have been known between birds. Occasionally, if his mate dies a male may not pair again for the rest of his life.
All of the Trumpeter Swans pictured in this Blog were taken in Yellowstone National Park on the Madison, Firehole, and Yellowstone Rivers as well as the marshes on the National Elk Refuge in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. There is one Trumpeter I photographed on more than one occasion swimming in The Firehole River that has no mate. I leave it to your imagination as to the reason – “Divorce”, “Death of a Mate”, or “Just not Old Enough”.