Image name: TrumpeterSwanTakeoff

Trumpeter Swan, Seney National Wildlife Refuge, Upper Penisula Michigan

These are the largest waterfowl in North America with the wingspan of a Bald Eagle but twice the weight. Seney NWR is home to a large population of these swans. They are named for their distinctive honking call, but for me their most memorable sound is the loud slapping of their wings hitting the water as they flap and run on the water for the great distance needed to become airborne. Trumpeter Swans mate for life and before going on nest pairs float together on lakes and ponds, living up to their romantic image. However, during breeding season young males engage in aggressive neck-wrestling to show off for unattached females. The loser is then chased away by the winner who has his neck stretched out, his bill snapping, and wings splashing the water.