The trumpeter swan is an all-white swan with a wingspan of nearly 8 feet. They fly with their extraordinarily long necks outstretched. Distinguished from tundra swan by its straight upper bill and the broad base of the bill against the eye, making the eye appear as part of the bill from a distance. Voice is a low trumpetlike sound; that of the young is higher and more nasal.
Species of Conservation Concern
Anatidae (ducks, geese, swans) in the order Anseriformes
Length: 60 inches (tip of bill to tip of tail).
Where To Find
Formerly a common migrant statewide and summer resident in northern Missouri. Currently, individuals and family groups winter in Missouri, foraging in shallow water. Some birds may be from the wild population of the Nebraska Sandhills, but most are from captive breeding programs. If you see trumpeter swans with neck collars, use your binoculars to see the color and numbers of the collar, and report them to the Missouri Department of Conservation.
Trumpeter swans forage in shallow water on aquatic vegetation, roots, seeds, and insects.
Rare winter resident at marshes, lakes, and rivers; formerly a common migrant statewide and summer resident in northern Missouri. A Species of Conservation Concern, it is considered critically imperiled in our state.
Trumpeter swans breed usually in freshwater habitats with dense emergent vegetation, as in inland waters and ponds. Nests are constructed of emergent vegetation and feathers, on the ground surrounded with water. Four to 6 eggs are laid; these are incubated for 33–37 days, and the young fledge in 91–119. Breeding in Missouri is extremely rare but may become more common in the future.
There are only about 5,000 trumpeter swans in the Midwest, and they are considered extirpated from our state. Hunters who shoot trumpeter swans risk thousands of dollars in fines and possible jail. If you’re hunting snow geese, make sure you can distinguish between them and trumpeter swans!
Swans, geese, and other aquatic grazers are important components of wetland, pond, and lake ecosystems, pruning the steadily growing vegetation and insect populations. In turn, these birds, especially their vulnerable eggs and young, provide food for carnivores.
Approximately 25 miles west of the Pony Express Conservation Area on the Missouri River is the original site of a settlement known as Blacksnake Hills, later to become the city of St.
Cooley Lake was once the main channel of the Missouri River as it flowed along the north side of the river bottom. When the river changed course, a deep oxbow lake resulted.
Columbia Bottom is for those who love wide, open spaces. It's located in a floodplain at the Confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, the two largest in North America.
About Birds in Missouri
About 350 species of birds are likely to be seen in Missouri, though nearly 400 have been recorded within our borders. Most people know a bird when they see one — it has feathers, wings, and a bill. Birds are warm-blooded, and most species can fly. Many migrate hundreds or thousands of miles. Birds lay hard-shelled eggs (often in a nest), and the parents care for the young. Many communicate with songs and calls.