Trumpet Songs. . .

Northern Minnesota is experiencing unusual Fall weather. Rain, wind and cool temperatures visited us way too early in September and tore the colorful leaves out of the trees weeks early. However, we are now living a gift of an Indian summer … warm 70º temperatures with lots of sunshine. Several weeks of this warm weather seems to have confused the annual migration. The birds are visiting us a lot longer than they normally would and some that are usually long gone have not even arrived, yet.

One of the most special gifts of this warm Fall has been the extended visit of a large group of Trumpeter Swans. Have you ever seen them in the wild before? They are amazingly graceful, majestic, and musical. What makes them amazing is that in addition to all these talents, they also have the recognition of being the largest living water fowl in the world .. it is the largest bird of North America.

I am thrilled to see them in the Spring and Fall as they pass through my woodsy neighborhood, because their visits are rare and usually brief. In fact, the Trumpeter Swan is still listed as a threatened (latest update 2007) species in my state of Minnesota. So, I consider their visit very special and try to mark the event with photos.

Taking pictures of them always presents me with a challenge. Small lakes with no access seem to be their preferred location. They are graceful swimmers that I love to watch but, they watch me very carefully, too … getting close to them is not easy. Their sentinel starts honking at the breaking of a small twig and they gather and move to the other side of the lake. Or, if they are really uncomfortable, they will all take off circling the area and land again in another lake after a period of time. While in flight, they are still a source of entertainment. Their trumpeting calls are very musical sounding and loud, you can definitely hear them coming. Besides the trumpeting sounds, their huge wings make wonderful whooshing sounds … a flock of 6 or more can be heard approaching from a long way off.
If you would like to get an idea of what their music sounds like, you can ( hear Trumpeter Swans) at It is not like the live show, but the best example I could find to share.
Although seeing swans is more common these days, the Trumpeter Swan was rare or extinct in most of the United States in the early twentieth century. Man contributed to their decline by hunting them for their feathers and then in later years with lead poisoning. I hope that their numbers will increase in my area. They are very special, musical visitors and I would dearly miss their annual Fall nature concerts.

~ by bearyweather on October 16, 2010.

9 Responses to “Trumpet Songs. . .”

  1. I don’t think I have ever seen this splendor so thank you for letting me see it through your eyes. 🙂 Your photos always draw me in and I love getting all dreamy in them.

  2. Ahhhhhh, this was so nice to read. This is right up my alley. My cat, however, was confused by the sound of the trumpeter swan in my Thank you for visiting me. I have returned the favor and placed you on my blogroll. Can’t wait to come back and read your other posts. Thank you!

  3. They are beautiful, thank for sharing. You do live in a very beautiful part of the country. I was in Burnsville, MN in Sept for a visit.

    • I hope that during your visit you saw that the beauty of Minnesota is not contained in just the north where I am … the Mississippi River Valley in the south is special, too.

  4. Lovely, I have never seen Trumpeter swans in the wild. What a treat these photos are! You truly live in a beautiful area.

    • I feel like I am becoming a spokesperson for Explore Minnesota our State tourism organization. I love where I live … so, I feel privileged to be able to share some of it’s beauty that is never seen by anyone except those of us who live here ..

  5. Beautiful trumpeter swans. You are lucky to see them there. We see them once in a while, but not regularly.

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