Image courtesy of Lauren Brown
George was found in the Nicola Lake area with a broken wing in 1997. He was brought to the Park to be rehabilitated but could not be released due to his injury.
Description: Tundra swans are large birds that resemble the trumpeter swan, but can be distinguished from each other by their calls or by their beak; tundra swans have a small yellow mark on their beak by their eye while the trumpeter swans do not.
Distribution: Tundra swans are typically found on the Northern coast of Canada and Alaska for most of the year as this is their breeding grounds. They are a migratory bird, and will travel down into the southern regions of Canada and to the North Western and North Eastern coasts of the United States.
Diet: These large waterfowl consume roots and tubers of aquatic plants along with aquatic animals like shrimp, crayfish and mussels. Tundra swans have also been known to eat agricultural products such as grains and corn from farmer's fields.
Behaviour: A breeding pair will lay their eggs in May or early June while there is still snow on the tundra. Young hatch after 32 days and grow quickly. Tundra swans will defend their young aggressively against predators and humans. Young swans (or cygnets) need to be able to fly by early September when the rest of the flock prepares to migrate south.
Click here to hear a Tundra Swan
Ralph Edwards came to the Park as an injured bird in 2005; he is missing half of a wing and is unable to fly.
Description: Are almost identical to the Tundra swan, however there is no yellow mark on their beak, and trumpeter swans tend to be slightly larger than tundra swans.
Distribution: Trumpeter swans were once very widespread, however overhunting in the early 1900's dropped the population and distribution drastically. in 1933 there were only 77 breeding pairs in Canada and 50 breeding pairs in the United States! Trumpeter swans persist in the Western regions of Canada and the United States. Breeding occurs in Alaska, but during the migration, they will travel down through Eastern British Columbia and along the Rocky Mountains. They are known to over winter on the West Coast of the United States.
Diet: Adult trumpeter swans consume leaves, shoots, and roots of aquatic plants while the young will eat mainly insects.
Click here to hear a Trumpeter Swan
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