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Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator)

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Waterfowl and Lead

Waterfowl must swallow hard particles so their gizzards can grind up hard foods, like grains. Unfortunately, they can't tell a lead pellet from a small pebble. Beginning in 1991, waterfowl hunters were required to switch from lead shotgun pellets to pellets made of non-toxic metals. The switch to... read more »

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An Adventure on the Skagit

On the Skagit Flats, an hour north of Seattle, dramatic scenes of wildlife unfold every winter. "The flats" are broad, level deltas where the river drains into Skagit Bay. They offer a wildlife panorama with few equals in North America. Immense Bald Eagles stand ready to give chase for a winter... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Swans Benefit from Bob Heirman Wildlife Park

In the late 1970s in Washington State, bulldozers began mining gravel on the banks of the most productive steelhead fishing spot on the Snohomish River. This raised the ire of Bob Heirman and his local sportsmen's club. They took on Dave Beck, Jr., head of the mining company and son of the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

Trumpeter Swans - Knowledge Bringers

With up to nine-foot wingspans, Trumpeter Swans are the world's largest water birds. Watching them in flight brings us into the presence of what the poet Rilke called "a more powerful reality - rising and circling, poised but wild." But they came close to disappearing. Through the love, care, and... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion, reflection

Swan Song

The idea of the "swan song" recurs from Aesop to Ovid to Plato to Tennyson. Ovid described it, "There, she poured out her words of grief, tearfully, in faint tones, in harmony with sadness, just as the swan sings once, in dying, its own funeral song." But it's based on a sweet fallacy - that a... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  myth, vocalization

Swans Come Calling

Trumpeter Swans land in a plowed field to forage for remnant potatoes, grain, and other waste crops. This swan is among the largest of all waterfowl; the Tundra Swan is somewhat smaller. These swans migrate in family groups each fall from nesting sites in Canada and Alaska. Learn more about these... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Swans on Valentine's Day

Swans have long exalted the human heart. Among the world's most magnificent creatures, swans inspire us, especially on Valentine's Day. On a lake, an adult pair of swans glides serenely, side by side, a classic symbol of love. And they have earned their reputation for fidelity. Swans mate for... read more »

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