There are a number of reasons why I decided to take on this project. My first reason has to do with my interest in birds. This began shortly after moving to Victoria ten and a half years ago. With our house backing onto a wooded area, the chirping of birds is a familiar sound all year long. I often glance out the window to see birds of all forms in the yard throughout the day. Frequently I will pull out the Birds of Victoria or Birds of North America reference guides we have on hand. Unfortunately, the drawings in the first aren’t overly helpful for identification and the number of entries in the second is overwhelming. My second reason has to do with a photography course I took a number of years ago. Since that time I have been trying to think of a practical reason to buy a new camera. Taking pictures of birds requires a powerful zoom lens which my previous point-and-shoot camera could not accommodate. Perfect! My final reason was my desire to take on a new project to welcome in 2011. Hence, bird of the day was born.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Trumpeter Swan

Cygnus buccinator

Huge waterfowl
Long neck
Short legs
Heavy, wedge-shaped bill
    All white plumage
    All black bill
    Black legs and feet
    Gray plumage
    Gray-black bill
    Yellowish-gray legs and feet

Listen to its call.

Given that adult swans are typically glaringly white, I was a bit confused by the colouring of these ones I saw on the Saanich Peninsula. Although their bodies were pure white, the plumage of the heads and necks of these birds had a brownish-orange tinge. I have discovered that this staining is caused by feeding in areas with high iron content in the water.  Isn't that always the problem when you wear white?!

Learn more about the Trumpeter Swan.

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