Trumpeter Swan on White lake

Tuesday I got a call from another conservation minded friend who had seen what appeared to be a non-Mute Swan on our lake. He indicated that it was large and had a black bill. Trumpeter0208Tundra swans have visited the lake in large numbers but I had yet to see a Trumpeter swan here. He had a suspicion that it might actually be a Trumpeter. From a distance it appeared to be socializing with a Mute swan and he was curious. Once I got to the location I could see the Mute swan near what did turn out to be a Trumpeter. It was having anything but a friendly relationship with a native Trumpeter Swan..

Mute_vs_Trumpeter7462                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             The Mute as they typically do, was harassing what was the first visiting Trumpeter I’ve seen on our lake. It was repeatedly driving the Trumpeter up onto the shore to establish its Mute_vs_Trumpeter7464dominance.This Mute has determined that it owns the entire north end of White Lake and has imprinted its dominance on virtually all of the waterfowl in the vicinity for years. It is an excellent example of how Mute Swans can destroy the natural nesting habits of native waterfowl. The territory of Mute Swans is practically endless and they will harass other species even when there are no signets or even a nest within hundreds of yards. The irony is that the Mute Swan is an exotic invasive species with a well known harmful impact on the native species and it is protected by State of Michigan law. Brilliant! The State of Michigan favors exotic invasive species over native species?Mute_vs_Trumpeter7469

Distinguishing a Tundra Swan from a Trumpeter Swan is difficult unless you can get a good look. A 400mm lens is a big help. The Trumpeter has black associated with its bill that includes its eye on the right. The Tundra Swans’ black marking reaches the eye but doesn’t surround if. There may also be a yellow patch near the eye that only the Tundra Swan has.


Tundra Swan


Trumpeter Swan


4 thoughts on “Trumpeter Swan on White lake

  1. Beautiful swan… Appreciated the information about them and hope we can support the Trumpeter Swans better as well. Thanks!

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Yes I have been watching trumpeter swans on White Lake for some years now probably five six years ago when the water was low I was walking around them done by the river and I noticed the river was full of feathers all over or so after observing the swans that were there I noticed the one was a large very large Trumpeter the largest of all swans and there were mutes around and if one got to close that Trumpeter was the cause of all the feathers he could catch them and while taking off and he’d grab them all full of feathers before the boots of peeled off and so I say that the big guy big Trumpeter will take no Guff from any but this one then Whitehall I’ve been watching for a few weeks now it was earlier up in the marsh and it it was so it’s smaller than the one this one is either female or just a younger male but it’s of course much larger than a tundra. they don’t seem to confront each other they just do a bluff thing.

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