• Trumpeter Swan

    Common NameTrumpeter Swan
    Scientific NameCygnus buccinator
    Type of ReportRare Species
    Date of Observation03/09/2017
    Media
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    Number Observed1 adult
    Reporting Observer's NameTheodore Murin
    Mailing Address77 Overlook Drive
    South Burlington, VT 05403
    United States
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    EmailEmail hidden; Javascript is required.
    Date Completed03/10/2017
    Names & Emails of Other Contributing Observers

    Robert Reynolds, Brandon, VT (finder of bird)
    Dwight Cargill, Essex, VT
    Richard & Dorothy Lavallee, St. Albans, VT
    Steve Antell, Shelburne, VT

    Latitude of Observation43.7995
    Longitude of Observation-73.1118
    Place NameOtter Creek wetland
    TownshipBrandon
    CountyRutland
    Time of Day12:40 PM
    Length of Time Observed~1.5 hours
    Maximum Estimated Distance from Bird (in feet)800
    Minimum Estimated Distance from Bird (in feet)600
    Noteworthy Weather Conditions

    Mostly cloudy, wind about 15 mph from northwest, temperature about 35 degrees Fahrenheit

    Optical Equipment Used for Observation

    Zeiss 8x42 TFL binoculars, a Nikon 20-45x 60mm spotting scope, and a Celestron 8-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope alternately fitted with a Celestron 18mm X-Cel LX eyepiece (effective 113x magnification) and a T-ring, T-adapter and Canon 400D digital camera (effective 64x magnification) mounted on a custom platform, Manfrotto 3066 video head, and Manfrotto 132XB heavy duty tripod.

    Observer’s Previous Acquaintance With This or Similar Species

    Inexperienced with Trumpeter Swan though have seen many Tundra and Mute Swans.

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

    Mostly flooded marsh with some vegetation visible including cattails; fair amount of ice cover. Bird was loosely associating with larger race of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis). Scattered Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) and American Black Ducks (Anas rubripes) were also in the vicinity.

    Behaviors Observed

    This bird preened, stood on the ice, swam around, fed by tipping up, and slept on the ice. As it approached foraging Canada Geese, the geese quickly relinquished their feeding spots.
    The bird rocked somewhat forward and backward as it swam, apparently from each stroke of its enormous webbed feet. The bird appeared wholly unconcerned and/or unaware of our distant observations.

    Description of Vocalizations

    None heard, though bird could be seen opening and closing its bill at a distance presumably to vocalize.

    Verbal Narrative & Description of Observation

    This bird was enormous - significantly larger than the nearby large race of Canada Geese
    (Branta canadensis) - and of standard swan configuration with a long neck, big bill, thick legs
    and enormous webbed feet. All plumage was a brilliant white with some faint, scattered
    yellow-brown tinging on the head, upper neck, breast and belly. The bill, legs and feet were
    entirely black (with no yellow on the bill). Legs were not banded. There was a thin reddish
    line at the cutting edge of the mandibles at the base half of the bill. The gape was pink. Eyes were dark. The bare patch between the eyes and base of the bill was taller than would be expected for a Tundra Swan (Cygne columbianus), causing the eyes to appear as more of a continuation of the black area rather than segregated. Black skin exposed around eyes was curiously more pronounced around bird's right eye than left. The feather line at the base of the gape was more straight than the more rounded line of Tundra Swan. The feather line at the top of the base of the bill came to a broad point, rather than the rounded interface expected for Tundra Swan. In profile, the top of the head to the tip of the bill was largely straight, as opposed to the more concave upper bill profile of Tundra Swan. See photos.

    Relative Size & Shape

    Enormous; considerably larger than nearby large race of Canada Geese. Standard northern swan configuration with a long neck, big bill, thick legs and enormous webbed feet.

    Head

    All plumage white with some faint, scattered yellow-brown tinging on head and upper neck. Dark eyes surrounded by black bare skin. See narrative above and photos.

    Feet & Bill

    Enormous black webbed feet and thick black legs. Large angular bill with relatively straight culmen; reddish cutting edge of mandibles on base half; pink gape. See narrative above and photos.

    Upper Back

    white and unmarked

    Lower Back & Rump

    white and unmarked

    Wings

    white, unmarked, and relatively massive when folded; did not observe deployed

    Breast, Belly, Flanks, Under Tail Coverts

    white, with scattered faint yellow-brown tinging on breast and belly

    Tail

    white and unmarked, moderate length

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

    Distinguished as a white swan species by enormous size, white plumage, long neck, black legs and feet, etc. Distinguished from Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) by black bill, lack of bill nob, and relaxed wings at rest. Distinguished from Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus) by entirely black bill. Distinguished from Tundra Swan by black bill, bill shape, and facial plumage as detailed above.

    Other Notes & Comments

    Distinguished as adult by white plumage and black bill. This bird was first discovered by Bob Reynolds in this general vicinity on March 5, 2017 - please give Bob top billing, thanks.

    This report was written from notes taken:Immediately After

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