Sea of swans at Stratford, Washington
This lone tundra swan lived in the Old Mill District of Bend, Oregon for several months this year. Its graceful silhouette, and the waves surrounding it, are highlighted in these black and white images.
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.Continue reading