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Honking Swans Noisily Return to Yukon

Trumpeters Swans have deep voices that sound like—can you guess? A trumpet! They used to be called Whistling Swans because of their musical, wavering voices.

Every spring, thousands of Trumpeter Swans migrate to Yukon from southern B.C. and Colorado. Their destination is Marsh Lake, a glacier-fed lake surrounded by mountains. After a few days of resting and feeding, the honking swans fly farther north for the summer. People from around the world also flock to Yukon to witness this birdwatcher’s dream and enjoy the Celebration of Swans festival (every April).


Return of the Swans via (Environment Yukon/YouTube)

Feathery Facts

• A female swan is called a Pen. A male swan is a Cob. Baby swans are called cygnets.

• Trumpeter Swans nearly became extinct in the late 1800s because people hunted the birds for their skins and quills.

• In 1933, only 77 Trumpeter Swans were breeding in Canada and only 50 in the United States. There are now approximately 20,000 Trumpeter Swans in the world.

• Trumpeters are just about cold-proof! Their unusually dense layer of down keeps them cozy warm.

• True love! A swans stays with its partner for life, but if one swan dies, it will find a new partner.

• Female swans lay between three to eight eggs.

• During their first year of life, cygnets survive by sticking close to older and more experienced family members. When these “babies” are older, they sometimes return to their nesting grounds to meet up with their parents.

• Trumpeters usually fly the same routes every year and teach these routes to their cygnets.

• Adults Trumpeters are BIG. They stand about 4 feet high, and their wingspan is over 7 feet wide.

Honking Swans in Yukon, Canada
Grounded Trumpeter Swans watch as Snow Geese take off. (bpperry/iStock)