With a wingspan of up to 8 feet, the trumpeter swan is the largest wild waterfowl on the continent, weighing as much as 35 pounds. Almost entirely white as as adults, swans can be seen on lakes, ponds or slow-moving bodies of water.
Trumpeter swans mate for life and can live as old as 25 years. They lay four to six eggs in June. In September or early October, the young chicks, which are a gray color and called “cygnets,” leave the nest.
Due to hunting and habitat loss, the population of swans dwindled to fewer than 70 by 1930. In Jackson Hole, the Wyoming Wetlands Society stepped in in the late 1980s to prevent the swan in the Rocky Mountain flyway from being listed on the federal Endangered Species List. The organization’s captive breeding and release program has led to healthy populations in the Rocky Mountain states, as well as in Oregon and Washington state. Unfortunately, habitat loss and climate change pose continuing threats to this bird.