There were at least six Trumpeter Swan pairs preening, eating, and swimming in the water along Highway 49 this morning.
This family looks like an a cappella quartet singing a harmonious morning melody. The parents are actually warning another pair of swans nearby. They straighten their necks and give a short, honking call, making it clear the other pair is getting too close.
An American Coot is unimpressed by the majestic display of fluttering wings. A Trumpeter Swan’s wingspan can be over six feet.
Though they are North America’s heaviest flying bird, they have amazing agility in their necks and wings. We are fortunate to have a growing population of Trumpeter Swans at the Horicon Marsh
Trumpeter Swans and Sandhill Cranes stand in the Horicon Marsh oblivious to the rain. The Trumpeter Swans enjoy the view to the west while the Sandhill Cranes enjoy the view to the east along Highway 49.
This Northern Pintail dabbles in the water for aquatic insects. Northern Pintail populations declined throughout most of their range at a rate of 2.6% per year between 1966 and 2012, resulting in a cumulative decline of 72%, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. They are listed as a Common Bird in Steep Decline by the 2014 State of the Birds Report. Thirty-three birds common in the U.S. are listed. These birds have lost more than half of their global population over the last four decades. Many of the birds on the list nest at the Horicon Marsh. Thankfully, there is a Comprehensive Conservation Plan at the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge and wildlife and land management plans at the Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area.