Friday, February 12, 2016


Personally, I always loved swans. There were several in a pond near the Methodist Campgrounds on Martha's Vineyard where I grew up. Today's tidbit shares some information on these birds and their various types.

Whistling Swan.
Adult: General plumuge, white; bill and feet, black; a small yellow spot on bare loral skin at the base of the bill in front of the eye, which is not always present; the distance from the /ran/ angle of the eye to the back edge of the nostril is more than the distance from the bark edge of the nostril to the end of the hill . this is oue of the characters by which it may be always distinguished from the Trumpeter Swan; bill and feet, black.
The immature birds are usually pale, plumbeous gray, with a brownish wash on the head and upper neck: feet, pale yellowish, sometimes pale flesh color or grayish. Length, 53; w ing, 21.50: bill, 4: tarsus, 4.20.
Habitat: "The whole of North America, breeding far north, Commander Islands, Kamchatka, accidental in Scotland." (A. O. I'.)
The Whistling Swan is common in winter on the Atlantic coast about the Carol in as and Virginia, and occasionally wanders as far south as Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. It breeds in the far north, the nest being composed of leaves and grass and placed on the ground. The eggs, which are from three to rive, are dull white.

Trumpeter Swan.
Adult; General plumage, white; bare loral skin in front of eye, not yellow: bill and feet, black; the distance from the front angle of the et/e to the. Inick edge of the nostril is equal or less than the distance from the back edge of tin nostril to the end of the bill.
Immature birds are ashy gray, often tinged with brownish on the head and neck; bill and feet, dull yellowish brown, tinged with olive.
Habitat; "Chiefly the interior of North America, from the Gulf to the fur countries, breeding from Iowa and the Dakotas northward, west to the Pacific coast; rare or casual on the Atlantic." (A. O. II.)
The eggs of the Trumpeter Swan are soiled white, and usually from three to six in number. The nest, which is placed on the ground, is composed of grass lined with down.

The Whooping Swan, Olor cygnus (Linn.), is occasionally found in Greenland, but has not been recorded elsewhere in North America.
It is described as having the base of the mandible and the entire hare loral skin yellow.
Source: How to Know the Ducks, Geese and Swans of North America ©1897

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