Rare Wild Trumpeter Swans~

graceful ballerinas,
plie’ in black stockings.
Mating for life,

there were only 70 left!

With care and concern,
there now are almost 40,000.
Cheers to you from Yellowstone’s Wild Trumpeters~
Note: Trumpeter Swans are the largest swan in the world with wingspans reaching over 3 meters. In 1933, because of extensive hunting, there were only 70 left. They were on the brink of extinction. A breeding population was discovered in Copper River Alaska that was used to reintroduce swans to their native environments. Trumpeters require pristine habitats, today they are threatened by habitat degradation. These swans were photographed in their year round home in Yellowstone National Park. The water in The Yellowstone River has thermally heated areas that allow the swans to survive the harsh Wyoming winters.

191 thoughts on “Rare Wild Trumpeter Swans~

  1. Beautiful captures of these graceful creatures. I am glad to hear their population returns. I can’t believe why people hunted them… Oh, the sky in the last picture is so lovely.

  2. S a kid in the dark ages, OK, the 1970s, I used to see Trumpeters all of the time in a small lake visited every summer. Now, on the east coast, I only see Mute Swans – lovely and graceful, but an invasive species that is driving the Trumpeters out of some locations in the upper Great Lakes region.

    1. Yeah, the mutes were introduced to North America to be decorative in ponds and fountains, but they escaped and now are infringing on Trumpeter territory. Trumpeters won’t breed where it is crowded. I hear it is a significant problem in certain areas. How incredibly cool that you saw them regularly in the 70’s! I saw them three times on this trip, each time in Yellowstone. The only other time I have seen them in my life before this was in The Oxbow in Grand Tetons when my kids were young in the early 90’s. It was a thrill to see them then, and a thrill now. Lucky you growing up with them, but so sad they are being ousted from their native regions.

  3. Beautiful birds. That is so interesting that the thermal pools sustain the swans in the winter. Yellowstone is a phenomenal place. And how wonderful that we brought them back from nearly driving them into extinction. 🙂

    1. It is always good to hear of humans doing good things which of course so many do. The boy scouts saved the Big Horns, a Texan saved the buffalos, and good samaritans saved the Trumpeter. Let’s not think about the people who neartly annhilated them all.

  4. Such a lovely photo series! We were lucky to spot some of them in Yellowstone this fall. They were basking in the sun in Yellowstone River in Hayden Valley:)

  5. Cindy, I remember reading about trumpeter swans, then there was a movie on Hallmark about scientists who have tried following them and putting bracelets on their feet to track these amazing birds. Now, thanks to this post, I know the “rest of the story!” 🙂

  6. The Wrangle St. Elias Mountains are spectacular, and about as wild as wild gets. No wonder a few Trumpeters were able to hide out there and come back to survive. Great photos, Cindi. –Curt

    1. The Wrangalls are wild and wonderful aren’t they! We flew all over by bush plane, stopping, and staying, and probably saw less than 2%. Thank goodness is right the Wrangalls are there to provide escape from the damage of humans.

  7. Thank goodness we managed to save them! Speaking of ballets, their mating dance is among the most beautiful ones I’ve ever seen. We’re so blessed to still be able to witness them! Have a fantastic time out there Cindy! ~Lynn

  8. Beautiful swans! I have never seen a swan with a black bill, it gives the swan a very distinguished look. I reckon they sound like a trumpet, this the name??

    1. How amazing, because they don’t live there. I wonder if someone bought one and it got away. There is another swan that looks practically identical, but is a bit smaller, and it’s name eludes me right now…..

  9. Beautiful and I love trumpeter swans. e love 40 minutes from the satrap Valley in the state of Washington, and there are several large natural run off ponds full of them. Wee g up right before sunrise on sum mornings and wait. As the sun rises they fly into the sky makes that unique sound. This is one of our fav things to do on warm summer mornings at sunrise.

  10. Hello Cindy! Oh my God the swans are gorgeous! I have lakes near my home I wish I could have these swans there. I would spend so much time admiring them. When I read there were only 70 left my heart almost stopped. I was so happy when I read that there are now 40,000. Thank you Yellowstone! Amazing pictures! <3

    1. Yes, there are many iconic Americanv animals that would be extinct now if individual conservationists hadn’t stepped up to the plate to save them, such as buffalo, big horn sheep and trumpeter swans!

    1. Sad, that it got that close, but yes, people can be remarkably kind and beneficial. You can bet that the people that hunted these animals to near extinction were not the same ones that saved the species!

  11. Cindy, about those 3 meters…, were those electric meters, or parking meters??? The birds and their story is wonderful. I watched this recovery effort for years and am really pleased it was so successful. Loved that waterfall, and the sunset. Sunsets out there were always to short and sudden. Just when you begin to enjoy it…, it’s gone !!! Hugs ! 🙂

    1. Yes, so true about the rapid sunsets. Not at all like the ocean where the sunsets develop so slowly people watch them during the cocktail hour! I also remember trumpeters being almost mythic when I was little as they were still making their comeback. I saw them once in the Tetons and three times on this trip. That is the sum total of times, and I go to the parks a lot!

  12. Incredibly interesting! I’d love to see a Trumpeter Swan. I see swans regularly on the High Park Pond. (It’s a very, very, very large pond) & I see them on Lake Ontario (across the street & over the footbridge) One day Sherrie & I saw Black Swans on the lake. It was a family of Black Swan’s …mom, dad…. kiddies.
    Of course I had no camera.

    1. Wow! How incredible to live amongst such beauty, especially the entire family of black swans. You must live in the most incredible place. Might you post some clicks of your very, very large pond, (In Southern California, we would call this a great lake!) and Lake Ontario????? With or without swans. I know it’s drop dead gorgeous and I’ve never seen it, so pretty please, if you want to, of course! Hugs and Happy Friday~

        1. Oh my Gosh!!! How awesome! They are wonderful! I worried I was being pushy asking you to post photos, so I am completely jazzed you already had done so! I want to see more of the natural spaces where you live. And cygnets in the spring! See, I am being pushy. I just don’t live anywhere near wild swans…..

          1. LOL You are not pushy… my adorable nature friend.
            Let me see what I have that I can show you… and also I will take more pics. I’m thinking this winter I should shoot the lake with frozen shores. Well, I’ll just have to dress for it.
            Far beyond the bridge though, the wilds of Ontario are a bit much for me!
            Cottage Country is another life, a postcard from the present.

      1. Cannot wait to see what you post! I would love to see the lake’s frozen shores and anything else that strikes you. I have never been to Ontario so it is a mysterious place to me.

  13. Gorgeous swans!! I’m happy the reintroduction has been successful, but we’ll need to be careful about the environment…for these swans and so many other species.

  14. I was blessed to see a swan this weekend. I don’t know the different species of swans, but this guy was easy to spot amid a sea of geese in the Delaware River. Lovely post.

      1. I asked my uncle once. He said hunting wasn’t about the deer he would bring home every year, but about the silence. Long days of silence. But I didn’t understand that either. I love chatting and doing and making. I would love to photograph wildlife like you do.

      2. I can understand the appeal of being out in nature for long stretches, the solititude, and quietness. I love all of this, but the only shooting I can relate to is with a camera. It was interesting in Antartica, where many animals don’t see people. They come right up to you and check you out. Penguins peck at your coat buttons. Whales spy hop you repeatedly to stare. I wonder what it would be like today if humans had never hunted animals for sport? Substistence needs, yes, but not sport. I wonder how much less afraid and fierce the animals might be.

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