The trumpeter swan (Cygnus buccinator) is a member of the Anatidae family and is the largest waterfowl in North America.
Trumpeter swan can achieve lengths of up to 62 inches long, wingspans of almost 7 feet and weigh as much as 37-38 pounds. Trumpeter swan can be long-lived, living up to 24 years in the wild and 32 years in captivity. Trumpeter swan start reproduction at ages of 3-4 years, and form relatively permanent pair bonds.
Trumpeter swan have good reproductive potential, capable of laying clutches of up to 8-9 eggs per breeding season. Trumpeter swan are generally “dabbling” feeders in pond and lake environments, though they are also thought to feed in agricultural fields adjacent to water areas.
Trumpeter swan were once widely distributed throughout major portions of North America, but were hunted heavily both for meat and for the millenary trades in the 19th Century. In 1908, trumpeter swan fell under the protection of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (1918), and populations have rebounded within core habitats in Alaska, western Canada and portions of Washington State. Trumpeter swan have also migrated as far south as Arkansas since population levels began increasing.
Trumpeter swan were once considered candidates for listing under the Endangered Species Act, but discovery of additional swan populations in Alaska caused them to be removed from listing. Trumpeter swan can be listed as protected under a number of state regulations.
Environmental activist have long alleged that trumpeter swan are poisoned by lead shot found in the sediments around waterfowl hunting areas. Researchers maintain that the trumpeter swan’s long neck and feeding habits cause them to pick up and ingest residual lead shot in shallow sediments.
Hunt for Truth is currently reviewing documentation regarding claims that lead ammunition from upland game hunting is resulting in lead poisoning in trumpeter swan.