Trumpeter Swans By Jodi-Anne Kaspin
1. For those of you who are familiar with E.B. White, the author of Charlotte's Web, you may have read or at least heard of the book, the Trumpet of the Swan. It's a story about a lovely swan couple that gives birth to 5 little cygnets, and one of them isn't able to make the trumpeter sounds like a typical swan.
2. Louis, the cygnet who is different than the others, searches to find a way to communicate in other ways with his family and the swan he loves. The ending is yours to find out! But while reading the book, I'm sure many readers became curious about trumpeter swans which have a magical, beautiful aura about them.
3. Trumpeter swans are the largest waterfowl. They weigh between 21-30 pounds, and the males can even reach 35 pounds or more. While standing, they reach about four feet tall, which is about the size of the average second-grader. Their wingspan can reach up to eight feet long. That's difficult to imagine when the average person's arm span reaches six feet!
4. The males are referred to as cobs, and the females are known as pens. The trumpeter swans are known for their deep, loud calls that sound trumpet-like. Trumpeter swans actually find a mate for life. Once they find their mate, they create a bond that lasts until the death of the first one. However, these birds can live for about thirty years.
5. Just like in the E.B. White novel, trumpeter swans are mostly found in the northern United States, like in Montana and Minnesota, or in Canada. Unfortunately, during the 1800s, swans were killed for their beautiful feathers and the population of the swans decreased. Trumpeter swans are known to enjoy forested areas and are most often found near swamps or shallow ponds.
6. By 1900, it was believed that the trumpeter swans had become extinct. However, a few survived and were found in the valleys of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. By 1935, the United States government created the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge to protect these beautiful creatures. The government made improvements to their habitats, provided food during the harsh northern winter, and controlled hunting. Thanks to this refuge, the trumpeter swan population has grown immensely and is no longer on the U.S. government's endangered animal list.
7. Trumpeter swans can still be found in Montana, Idaho, other Midwestern states, and Canada. Today, there is even a large population in Alaska, with more than 12,000 trumpeter swans living there. If you decide to visit any of these areas, such as Red Rocks Lakes in Montana, you might be lucky to hear a loud, deep pitched "ko-hoh" sound. You now know that it could be the sound of this interesting breed of waterfowl that was saved from extinction.