With up to nine-foot wingspans, Trumpeter Swans are the world's largest water birds. Watching them in flight brings us into the presence of what the poet Rilke called "a more powerful reality - rising and circling, poised but wild." But they came close to disappearing. Through the love, care, and skill of people like Martha Jordan of The Northwest Swan Conservation Association, there's hope. She's been studying and protecting swans for more than 30 years. Thank you, Martha!
Trumpeter Swans - Knowledge Bringers
Featuring Martha Jordan
Written by Todd Peterson
Interviewed by Chris Peterson
This is BirdNote.
[Calling and wing beats of Trumpeter Swans] G8 T1 4:55
With up to nine-foot wingspans, Trumpeter Swans are the world’s largest water birds. Watching them in flight brings us into the presence of what the poet [Rainer Maria] Rilke called “a more powerful reality - rising and circling, poised but wild.”
[Calling of Trumpeter Swans + wing beats] G8T1 12:55
But they came close to disappearing. In 1936, only 69 birds nested in the Lower 48. Today, including birds that nest in Canada and Alaska, there are more than 34,000.,. Still a tiny number, but how was this renaissance possible? Through the love, care, and skill of people like Martha Jordan of the Trumpeter Swan Society. [Editor's note: Martha Jordan now works with the Northwest Swan Conservation Association.] She’s been studying and protecting swans for more than 30 years. We’re with Martha, watching swans return to a protected lake, in Western Washington:
G11 T1 1:00 – “…I think that over the years I began to realize that to each and every person a swan is something special…it’s something about their grace and beauty… …it’s something about that they mate for life…it’s something about the grandeur of such a large incredible bird…it’s something about how they move that just simply stirs something in each one of us. They’re extremely mysterious…I call them ‘the knowledge bringers’…You never know what they are going to bring you next.”
[Calling of flights of Trumpeter Swans] G9:50+
All sounds recorded by C. Peterson
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2014 Tune In to Nature.org February 2014 Narrator: Mary McCann
1 and 2. Birder’s Conservation Handbook. 100 North American Birds at Risk. Jeffrey V. Wells. Princeton University Press, 2007. p.53.