Sunday, April 17th, 2011
Trumpeter Swan

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A Trumpeter Swan swims in a portion of open water near the outlet of Marsh Lake in the Yukon. The Trumpeter Swan is the largest swan in the world and the largest waterfowl species native to North America. Its neck is often stained rust-brown from contact with ferrous minerals in wetland soils during feeding.
Below, a flock of Trumpeter Swans flies above the Yukon River near Marsh Lake near sunset. I have come to appreciate their eerie, haunting, winsome call – part whoop, part sigh- as one of the most memorable sounds of spring.

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Saturday, April 16th, 2011
Trumpeter Swan Population Dynamics

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Watching a flock of Trumpeter Swans fly in unison is as marvelous of a sight, but it’s easy to forget by 1900, Trumpeter Swans were near extinction across North America due to overharvest and habitat alteration. As the populations declined, their migrations to traditional wintering areas were almost totally destroyed. By the 1940s, only about 100 trumpeters survived in western Canada. After decades of conservation efforts, the Western Canada population has begun to reoccupy vacant breeding habitat in Alberta, British Columbia, the Yukon, and the Northwest Territories and now numbers about 4,700 swans.

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Friday, April 15th, 2011
Trumpeter Swan's Graceful Movements In The Sky

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Looking at the Trumpeter Swans flying overhead in their graceful flight reminds me of my favorite nature documentary “Winged Migration” (“Le Peuple Migrateur”) directed by Jacques Perrin. “Winged Migration” is the result of four years of following and documenting the amazing odysseys of migratory birds, in the northern hemisphere and then the south, species by species, flying over seas and continents. “For every one of us, these winged creatures are among the most fascinating, the most shrouded in mystery and poetry. Among all the vertebrates, they are the only ones to have mastered the open sky. Through a series of miracles of evolution, they have conquered all the skies by equipping themselves with remarkably adapted organs, wings covered with feathers, powerful muscles to move them, the heart of a long distance runner. They combine a minimum of weight with maximum strength and ease. Their flight gives them an accurate place in the biosphere; no other animal has ever come to contest this. Their exceptional faculties have allowed them to answer annual fluctuations in the climates by finding refuge during the winter far from their homelands where they breed. They are the undeniable champions among all the long distance migrants. The …

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Thursday, April 14th, 2011
Swan Spring Migration

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M’Clintock Bay on Marsh Lake near Whitehorse in the Yukon currently hosts a spring spectacle of returning trumpeter swans and other waterbirds. Featuring the first open water in the region, the bay has many attractions for early migrants. This bay offers shallow water, access to food, good visibility, and little disturbance to waterbirds, making it a critical stopover on the long migration to northern nesting grounds.

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Monday, June 13th, 2005
Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swans are among the many species of birds that migrate to Alaska in summer from thousands of miles away. It’s hard to believe that the Trumpeter Swan, the largest waterfowl on earth, was almost hunted to extinction in the lower 48 several decades ago. Today, 80% of the trumpeter swan’s world population of around 16,000 breeds in Alaska.

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