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The Elegant Trumpeter Swan

These majestic birds can have a wingspan up to 3 meters and weigh between 7-13 kgs making these the heaviest, native waterfowl in Ontario. They were near extinction during the 1980s-1990s but with aggressive conservation efforts, this graceful bird has rebounded.

They bond for life when they are 3-4 years old. The female lays 5-6 eggs, incubating for approximately 30-32 days. Her large webbed feet sit over the top of the eggs. The male is busy defending the nest against any predators during the incubation period.

We have Trumpeter swans (Cygnus buccinator) visit the pond regularly each year at the Nature Centre. They arrive every March and come and go all summer. The last sighting was on the 11th of August, 2021. We had not seen them since the beginning of June.

Male Trumpeter on Left-Female Trumpeter on Right at Nature Centre

We report our sightings by email and online. The links are provided below.

Many swans have been tagged in Southern Ontario with a yellow wing tag that includes a black three number plus letter combination unique to each Trumpeter. The tag is placed on both wings and the bands are placed on the right leg of the male and the left leg of the female.

Sightings of swans are recorded whether the birds are tagged or untagged. The date is recorded along with the specific location, GPS coordinates are great, the tag numbers, obvious pairs, if there are cygnets (baby swans) and how many. They also want to know about the behaviour of the swans, whether they are injured, if they are mating, building a nest, incubating or isolating.

Since the beginning of the program, there have been over 2,200 swans tagged & banded in Ontario. The allowance to tag & band is 120 each year. The database has over 250,000 sightings from over 4,500 different locations. Any Ontario-tagged swans sighted in other Provinces or in the US are also added to the database.

So when you hear that very distinctive "honking" sound in the sky, near a pond or along the shoreline of a lake you'll know it's a Trumpeter Swan defending its territory, sounding an alarm or keeping the family together.

Links for sighting reports:

This short video was taken on our game camera 2 years ago. Date on video is incorrect.

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What a great video of the swan!

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