Saturday, March 27, 2010

Trumpeters Hanging at the Nature Center

Posted by Kirk
On Friday, some of the naturalists took a stroll down to the lakes at work to check on ice-out conditions. There was almost no ice to speak of. There was, however, a pair of Trumpeter Swans. Two of our volunteers had spotted them earlier in the day and I was excited they were still around. There had apparently been several others further up the lake but we didn't see them. These two are likely just migrating though but I can't help but notice how comfortable and laid back they were. They spent most of their time sleeping and when they did take notice of us like in the photo above you can see the one on the right didn't even bother to stop standing on one leg. They must have felt pretty safe. I also noticed that they were right next to some prime habitat for nesting.

While cleaning up this spring we found a notebook from the first director of the nature center. One spring many years ago, a pair of Canada Geese showed up on this same lake and he was blown away that they decided to nest. He went down every day to check on their progress and write up detailed notes on this wonderful event. It sounds funny now that Canada Geese are so common but at the time it was a big deal.

I'd be pretty excited if these swans nested at the center but I look forward to the day when Trumpeter Swans are not such a big deal.

On a separate note, just a little further up the lake from here the pair of Bald Eagles has returned to their nest. If the Trumpeter's do nest here I wonder if the eagles would go after the chicks?



Gordon Dietzman said...

I once asked my grandparents about their wildlife experiences as children and teens growing up in southern Wisconsin in the late 1800s and early 1900s. None of the three of them (paternal grandfather died when I was four) could think of any specific notable examples; wild animals simply didn't have a significant presence within that landscape at that time.

Even in the 1960s, I don't recall seeing lots of wildlife. It wasn't until the very late 1960s that I began seeing deer in any numbers. It wasn't until the 1970s, before I saw my first bald eagle, woodduck, and sandhill cranes. It wasn't until the 1980s that I saw my first wild turkey and trumpeter swan.

And I remember the great excitement in our household when a migrating flock of tired Canada geese settled in one of our hilltop fields. Still remember our picnic that Mom hurriedly packed and how we sat in a fringe of trees and munched sandwiches while taking turns looking through binoculars at these spectacular birds.

Most of us probably consider all of these to be pretty common, but it wasn't all that long ago that they created a lot of excitement when they put on an appearance....

Hope your trumpeters nest. That would be very cool....


Kirk said...

Thanks for your comments Gordon. Bald Eagles are a great example too. There have been some interesting articles lately about Bald Eagles eating endangered species and what a conundrum this causes.

Dan Tallman said...

I have not researched my facts here, but, in the Great National Bird Debate, wasn't Ben Franklin opposed to the Bald Eagle because it is mostly a scavenger with a predilection for dead fish?

Kirk said...

Yes Dan, it was something like that. He didn't feel the Bald Eagle was a bird of high moral character.