HAVE MORE DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS THAN YOU THINK
you like the challenge of hunting ducks, enjoy watching geese pass high
overhead in a perfect V or engage in throwing bread crumbs to swans
in a city lake you need to be aware of an outstanding nature book, "Ducks,
Geese, and Swans of North America."
was sponsored by the Wildlife Management Institute, written by Guy Baldassarre
and published by Johns Hopkins University Press. It is the most comprehensive
overview ever written on waterfowl that fly the skies anywhere between
Mexico and Canada. This scientifically accurate, superbly written account
covers all of the 46 U.S. species in the three bird groups.
does it all - complete species accounts that include information on
identification, geographic distribution, migration, ecology, behavior
and reproduction. Excellent photographs, hand-painted illustrations
of every species and colored maps of the geographic range in different
seasons complement each species account. Drawings of ducklings, goslings
and cygnets provide comparisons of the different species.
it is such a biological and wildlife conservation classic, the origin
of the book itself deserves mention. The book was originally written
by Francis H. Kortright in 1942 and became the authoritative source
on U.S. waterfowl. The work was updated and expanded in 1976 by Frank
version, published in 2014, continues with the same standards of excellence
as its predecessors. Comprehensive coverage of a 1,027-page book would
be too lengthy, so I decided to focus on swans, two of which are native
to North America and a third that is from the Old World but here to
see a huge white bird swimming in a lake it will probably be a mute
swan. With an orange bill and a black knob in front of its eyes, a mute
swan is readily recognizable. The species was brought to this country
from Europe in the 1800s, but wild populations now occur in many areas.
Mute swans often become semidomesticated, as with those seen in city
parks, and are thought to have been domesticated in Europe more than
8 centuries ago. More than 22,000 are currently estimated to be in North
America, a low population density compared with the quarter of a million
living in Europe.
are beautiful to watch as they glide gracefully across the water but
are a force to be reckoned with during their breeding season.
been known to turn over kayaks and canoes, continuing to attack a person
in the water. Human deaths have even been reported, with victims being
A dog had
best beware of an attack by a mute swan as many have been killed by
an enraged mother swan. The mute swan is not silent at all, making a
variety of bland sounds, although the hissing of an angry swan is anything
credit the world's largest species of waterfowl, the trumpeter swan,
is a U.S. native with an estimated population size of more than 46,000.
discredit, only 69 individual trumpeter swans were left in the United
States in 1932, an inexcusable example of near extinction of a species
resulting from overharvesting for the plume trade due to inadequate
swan cygnets are the paragon of the fabled "ugly duckling"
in being "mouse gray," whereas the snowy white adults with
their large black bills are magnificent. Trumpeters get their name from
a deep, resonant two-note call.
U.S. swan belongs as much to Canada as to us. The tundra swan lives
up to its name by breeding in the arctic and subarctic, although they
migrate to several southern states in winter, these enormous white birds,
also known as whistling swans, are the most abundant of the three North
American species, with numbers being estimated at greater than 200,000.
these impressive waterfowl are wildlife marvels to watch flying or swimming,
but if they have an orange bill, keep your distance.
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