Cygnus buccinator is derived from Cygnus, the Latin word for swan and buccinator from the Latin word buccina meaning a trumpet or shepherd’s horn. More commonly known as the Trumpeter Swan, this largest of native North American waterfowl was reduced to near extinction by the early 20th century as it was hunted for its meat and feathers; especially the largest flight feathers as they were considered to make the best quality quill pens. Through extensive conservation efforts, the 17 to 28 pound adult bird with wingspans of up to an excess of 8 feet has now repopulated to over 18,000 with breeding grounds from the Great Lakes, west to Oregon and north to Alaska and the Northwest Territories. These beautiful birds don’t get large by watching the sun rise and set. Adults will eat up to 20 pounds of food a day! The Trumpeter female normally lays from 2 to 13 creamy white eggs on a vegetative little island or beaver lodge. After an incubation period of 32 to 37 days under the mother’s warm body, the cygnets hatch and within 24 hours will be swimming and feeding. Adults will usually pair up at 3 to 4 years of age and for the most part will mate for life. In the wild, these birds have been known to live for over 24 years.
With such a regal appearance, a comeback from near extinction and faithfulness to each other, today’s post “Of Indigo & Gold” seemed most appropriate. Taken shortly before sunset, the golden light combined with the reflection of blue and pastel skies on the icy water provided that aura of royalty so fitting for this pair.