Return of the Trumpeter Swans
Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! We hope at some point this holiday season you were able to see seven swans a-swimming around the Okanagan and Similkameen!
Most lakes and large rivers around here have both Trumpeter and Tundra Swans over the winter, especially Vaseux Lake Bird Sanctuary, which was originally crested to protect Trumpeter Swans and their winter habitat. They are the largest living waterfowl species in the world, and also have the longest wingspan which can reach up to 8ft long. They also have a unique 5cm thick down layer of feathers that allow them to easily withstand temperatures down to -30°C!.
Did you know Trumpeter Swans were once close to extinction?
This bird was specifically hunted for its meat, feathers for quill pens and soft swanskin powder puffs used for makeup. In 1933 it was believed that there were only 77 breeding individuals in Canada mostly due to over hunting, habitat loss, and lead shot poisoning. Due to a ban on hunting, reintroduction and conservation programs, and bird sanctuaries there are now 16,000 individuals in North America!