Trumpeter Swans On The Yellowstone River

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Trumpeter Swans are among the largest birds in North America.  There are birds with greater wingspans, like California Condors, but Trumpeters are the heavyweight champs, topping the scales at about 23 pounds.   They are huge in comparison to other aquatic species.  Even Canada Geese look like pipsqueaks compared to these swans.

They are also stunningly beautiful with pure white plumage, black faces and beaks.  Their black and white coloration gives a formal appearance to them.

They are not a common species.  Their habitat includes northwestern Canada, the Pacific Northwest, and parts of the midwestern United States.  There are small pockets of these birds in the northern Rockies.  The field guides list Trumpeter Swans as being uncommon to rare.

So, I was delighted to find a handful of these magnificent birds — five in all — swimming on the Yellowstone River.  At least two of them were a mated pair.


I was also very pleased that they tolerated my presence.  They allowed me to approach quite closely without showing fear or annoyance.  I had the opportunity — something that I rarely get — of being able to compose and shoot images at my leisure.


Probably, this pair has seen hordes of tourists, inuring them to human presence.  Whatever, I wasn’t about to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Images made with a Canon 5Diii, 100-400 mm f4-5.6 zoom ISII+1.4x telextender, aperture priority setting, ISO 400, f8 @ 1/1250.

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