Friday, February 8, 2013

Trumpeter Swans

I discovered eight trumpeter swans swimming in the Bear River near Georgetown, Idaho.
These magnificent birds are, on average, the largest waterfowl species on earth, and the heaviest bird in North America. The largest known male weighed 38 pounds (17.2 kilograms) and had a wingspan of 10 feet (3.1 meters).
They drifted downstream to get further away from me, but after I moved my truck closer a couple of times they finally settled down and ignored me. They kept ducking their heads under water and splashing a lot of water around, either bathing or seeking vegetation for food.  Occasionally, one would stand up, stretch its wings forward, then back, to fold them.
One by one they climbed out of the water, spreading their wings for balance like this juvenile.  The younger swans still had some grayish plumage but were showing a lot of the white feathers they would have as adults.
Once they were ashore, they sometimes enjoyed a leisurely stretch.

These swans were rare here until recently, but have made a good comeback thanks to nesting at Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge.


  1. Great photos of the swans. I felt lucky the other day when I seen a family of five. I didn’t have my tripod with me. Thus the shots I got weren’t that good, conserding the opportunity I had.

    1. Thanks, Dave. I used a Puffin Pad to steady the lens, instead of a tripod. Jim brought a home made version to the last camera club meeting. It is a foam gadget that fits over the truck window, and it works great!

  2. Wow, these are fabulous photos. What is a Puffin Pad? I have to use something and learn so much more as I have lost so many photos to movement and lighting.

    1. Here's a link about Puffin Pads. It is really a simple device, but it works great. I'm glad you like my swans.