LET US KNOW IF YOU SEE THEM!
First you must be able to identify the native Trumpter Swan from the introduced and far more common Mute Swan, whose numbers exceed 15,000 in Michigan.
Mute Swans have a bright orange bill with a black knob where the base of the bill meets the forehead. The bill is dish shaped and usually carried pointing downward.
Trumpeter Swans have a large, wedge shaped black bill that's a stright line from the forehead to the tip. The bill is usually carried at a 90 degree angle to the neck.
Mute Swans carry their necks in a "S" shape; and the males often hold their wings up in a display. The most common sound they make is a threatening hiss.
Trumpeter swans are the largest swan species and carry their necks in an "angular" shape. Their sound is a honk that does sound like a trumpet.
Mute Swans are very territorial when nesting and will attack (even kill) other waterfowl species, animals, and people on land or in boats.
Trumpeter Swans will protect their nests, but don't tend to be as aggressive as Mute Swans.
To our knowledge, we have not had any pairs of Trumpter Swans nesting on Gun Lake. Maybe we are just a stopover in their migration due to the lack of nesting sites? We will never know until we start tracking and counting them. Watch for them beginning in March.
TO REPORT A SIGHTING OF A TRUMPTER SWAN (not a mute swan).
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Put "swan sighting" in the subject line. Be sure to include the date of the sighting, the location, and the number of birds seen.