Trumpeter Swan

From Ohio History Central


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Scientific Name: Cygnus buccinator
Habitat: Wetlands, open water
Adult Weight: 28 lbs., male, 23 lbs., female
Adult Body Length: 59 inches, male, 57 inches, female
Nesting Period: May - June
Broods Per Year: 1
Clutch Size: 3-9
Life Expectancy: 20 years
Foods: <aquatic />


The trumpeter can be identified by its all black bill. The tundra swan has a small amount of yellow. The mute swan's bill is orange and black. This beautiful bird has an 7 foot wingspan.



Before fur trappers and Euopean settlers arrive, trumpeter swans ranged throughout the northern third of North America. Evidence of trumpeters has been found at archaeological sites in Ohio. They were probably all killed by Native Americans and trappers before settlers arrived in the area.


Uncontrolled hunting in the 18th century resulted in the near extinction of the North American population by 1900. They were hunted for their meat, skin, eggs, and, in particular, feathers, which were used in fashion and to make powder puffs and writing pens.

19th Century

Trumpeters migrated regularly through Ohio during the early 1800s, but numbers had dwindled by the 1860s.

20th Century

The last Ohio record of a trumpeter swan was in April, 1900, when it was shot near Wellston, Ohio. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, through a state tax refund program, has developed the Trumpeter Swan Reintroduction Plan. The goal is to release 150 trumpeter swans in Ohio wetlands (with large amounts of aquatic plants) by 2006. The program involves obtaining young swans from zoos and breeders, as well collecting some eggs from trumpeter nests in Alaska. The older birds and the young, known as cygnets, are taken care of until they are two years old and then they are released.

Each year, groups of 10- 15 will be released. Hopefully, they will form pairs, eventually migrate south for the winter, then return to their release area in the spring to nest.

See Also


  1. Peterjohn, John. The Birds of Ohio; Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN; 1989.