The White Trumpeter Swan
in Boxley Valley, Arkansas
by: Bobby McDonald
As I told you earlier, my main focus of the trip to Boxley Valley, Arkansas, was a photo shoot of the beautiful elk that have been reintroduced to the area, and managed over a period of years. However, I had also heard about the reintroduction of the White Trumpeter Swans to the area, a few years ago, but really didn't think that I'd get the opportunity to see any of them. Well, the Good Lord, shined-down on me. As I was leaving the area where I had shot the elk, I noticed something white in a small slough, as I was passing it. On closer inspection it was indeed a pair of White Trumpeters! About the time I got my camera focused, here they came swimming toward me.
I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I did of seeing this magnificent pair of birds. The White Trumpeter Swans wintered in the Boxley Valley some 100 years ago, but with a number of factors affecting their habitat, the birds had chosen to winter elsewhere. However, about five years ago, the Arkansas Wildlife Department, in cooperation with the Iowa Wildlife Department, began a joint program of moving young White Trumpeters to the Boxley Valley and other areas that were known to have been former habitats, in hopes that as the young swan matured, they'd return for the winter, to the area.
The joint effort is working, as the swans migrate to Arkansas in late October, after the nesting season is over in Iowa, and are settling in the Ozark streams and sloughs, where they had been introduced.
White Trumpeter Swans are more grayish in color, when they are young, and then as they mature, they turn pure white in color. The male swan is called a "cob" and the female swan is called a "pen." The pairs mate for life and their young are called "cygnets." The female lays from three to eight eggs, in a nest that is referred to as "the clutch." She builds the "clutch" from cattails, small twigs and other materials found around the water, where they have their habitat. They like to build the clutch on top of a beaver or muskrat lodge, in the water.
The mature cob and pen will weigh approximately 35 pounds and has a wing span of up to 8 feet.
The diet of the White Trumpeter Swan is made up of various pond weeds, seed, and small grains, that are found in the area.
Enjoy these beautiful creatures, now in the wild in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas:
They Are Beautiful Birds!!!!