• Trumpeter Swan

    Common NameTrumpeter Swan
    Scientific NameCygnus buccinator
    Type of ReportRare Species
    Date of Observation03/31/2018
    Number Observed1
    Reporting Observer's NameJames Osborn
    Mailing AddressO-2 Grandview Drive
    South Burlington, VT 05403
    United States
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    EmailEmail hidden; Javascript is required.
    Date Completed03/31/2018
    Names & Emails of Other Contributing Observers

    No one else contributed to this report form. However, the bird was photographed by Jim Mead who said that he would attach the photos on his eBird checklist later today.

    Latitude of Observation44.5613
    Longitude of Observation-73.1780
    Place NameMallett’s Creek
    Vermont eBird Checklist URLebird.org.ebird
    Time of Day08:55 AM
    Length of Time Observed5 Minutes
    Maximum Estimated Distance from Bird (in feet)250
    Minimum Estimated Distance from Bird (in feet)200
    Noteworthy Weather Conditions

    Bird was “lit up” by the Sun. Calm conditions in the area.

    Optical Equipment Used for Observation

    Zeiss 8X42 Binoculars

    Observer’s Previous Acquaintance With This or Similar Species

    I have extensive experience with this Species having spent 70 days at Montezuma NWR in Western New York where they are a breeding bird. This year I found the bird at Charcoal Creek (Missisquoi NWR) in Swanton on March 18th.

    I certify that that attachments included with this report were captured during this observation event​​.
    Description of Habitat

    Mallett’s Creek is a area where several brooks converge. It is what you could call a fresh water Marshy area. At the time of this observation the Swan was associating with several Mallards and a pair of Canada Geese.

    Behaviors Observed

    The Swan was feeding voraciously in the Marshy area just South of the Creek. It didn’t really interact with any of the other waterfowl around it. Since I was in a car there was no reaction by the bird to me.

    Description of Vocalizations

    None Heard.

    Verbal Narrative & Description of Observation

    I was driving North on Interstate 89 when I noticed a very large “white” bird in the Creek along the East side of the highway. I knew right away that it was a Swan. I had plenty of time to slow down and pull over onto the “breakdown” area. The bird was feeding continuously in the Marshy area South of the main Creek. When it lifted its head I could see that it had a long bill that had a distinct V-shape where it attached to its forehead. The bird was very heavy-looking and had an angular shape to the head and neck. The crown had fairly heavy iron-staining, but the rest of the bird seemed to be pure white. The red gape was very thin but noticeably bright. My first thought was that this bird was the same one that I found back on March 18th at Charcoal Creek (Missisquoi NWR) in Swanton. Perhaps it is. I then keep going North on Interstate 89 and exited at Exit 17 (Route 2 Champlain Islands). I stopped and called Jim Mead who I knew hadn’t seen this Species in Chittenden County. Then I went back South, and he and I met at the Weigh Station just South of where the bird was. Jim took several photos of the bird which helped us confirm the ID. He said that he will post them on his eBird checklist later today.

    Relative Size & Shape

    Very large Swan. Sleek but heavy-looking. Considerably larger than the Canada Geese that it was associating with.


    Angular head and neck. Some heavy iron-staining on the crown. Cheeks were white, as was the nape and throat. Eye not easy to discern.

    Feet & Bill

    Did not see the feet as the bird never left the water. Bill was long, Black, and attached in a V-shape to the forehead. NO YELLOW in the lores. The lores appeared to be the same width as the eye.

    Upper Back

    Pure white.

    Lower Back & Rump

    Pure white.


    Wings were folded so you couldn’t discern anything from them. No markings seen.

    Breast, Belly, Flanks, Under Tail Coverts

    All areas of this bird were white. Some areas you could not see due to the bird being in the water.


    Somewhat short with no markings

    IMPORTANT: What similar species were eliminated when making the identification and how was this bird different?

    Tundra Swan - eliminated by SIZE, shape of the head and neck, and there being NO YELLOW in the lores. Also, the V-shape instead of a U-shape connection was very apparent. This bird was HUGE. Tundra Swans are considered small in comparison.

    Other Notes & Comments

    No age or sex was determined.

    This could easily be the bird from Swanton considering the number of days that have passed since that bird was last seen up there.

    This report was written from notes taken:During the Observation

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