Swan Song: Bringing back the trumpeters

Swan song Trumpeter Swan, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

It’s ironic that a bird that almost disappeared from the face of the earth has their name associated with the phrase “swan song” that means “final appearance.”

A species on the brink

At one time the population of the Trumpeter Swan, Cygnus buccinator, was thought to be down to fewer than 70 birds. They were just steps away from their swan song. The birds were overhunted and their feathers were used to adorn hats and make writing quills while their skins were used to make powder puffs.  They were also hunted for their meat and eggs.

In 1932, the last known remnants of the population lived near Yellowstone National Park. Their swan song was imminent.

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