An unexpected surprise came our way early Saturday morning when a pair of trumpeter swans appeared on the little lake behind our home. For more than thirty years, we’ve watched geese, ducks, and colorful birds appear out our window. Swans we saw only in books.
Before long, neighbors appeared lakeside, and wide-eyed children couldn’t comprehend what they were witnessing. Photos aimed at capturing this phenomenon could not totally grasp the feelings of this incredible happening. For almost an hour, we watched these amazing creatures glide across the water and eventually take flight.
In doing a bit of research, we discovered this pair probably mated for life. In the 1930s, fewer than 100 trumpeter swans remained south of Canada. More recent efforts have focused on reintroducing the species to areas thought to be part of the former breeding range which includes Minnesota. In 2015, an estimated 17,000 trumpeter swans were spotted during the nesting season. In November and December, most swans that nest in the USA, go south to spend winters in milder climates,
These majestic birds, which fly at speeds of 50-60 mph, stretch to six feet in length and weigh more than 25 pounds. Pairs are formed when they reach about three years old. Their young can swim when less than one day old but are not capable of flight for 3-4 months. The oldest known trumpeter swan is said to be a female who lived to be 32 years old in Wisconsin.
Why did this elegant pair come to visit us and where did they go? That’s part of life’s mystery in never knowing what joy tomorrow might bring.
(Photo by Larry Teckenbrock)