Trumpets in the Band

I have had the pleasure of birding heavily for a number of years now and in that time I have taken 10’s of thousands of pictures (honestly, likely more than that). Let’s all give a round of appreciation for the geniuses that brought us the digital medium otherwise the cost of developing them would have cut that number by 75%. Kind of a shame that Kodak didn’t see a winner in that patent. The only reason I mention that number is that it seems staggering when considering this is the first time for this

Banded Trumpeter Swans located in Elmwood IL March 2014

Sorry, might have just steered you in the wrong direction. This is not the first time I have photographed a Trumpeter Swan. Nope, the species made its debut back in December 2011 (link here). You might want to just skip going back to that link. We were in Yellowstone and so far off from them you can barely tell they are pictures of actual birds – more like pieces of cotton floating on a large pond. That was remedied when they were featured again back in February 2015 (link here). Muuuuch better pictures of the Trumpeters. Believe I mentioned in the last post, a blog is an excellent way to see your progression behind the shutter.

Banded Trumpeter Swans located in Elmwood IL March 2014

hit the jump to reveal the interesting element of this post.

Truth be told, these pictures are a bit of a step back from a quality perspective. This batch of specimens were photographed around 10 miles from our home outside the small town of Elmwood in March of 2014. “Not too hayseed to say look who’s in the big town.” Although it is very surprising to see Trumpeter Swans hanging out in the heartland of Illinois – much less in the middle of a cornfield in the heartland – or as we like to say down here – NOT CHICAGO, this still isn’t the key aspect of this particular post. Nope, something even more interesting about these birds that you probably already noticed.



Banded Trumpeter Swans located in Elmwood IL March 2014

Ummm, definitely not from this picture, but you can clearly tell in the shots above, these Trumpeters are banded. Usually I do not identify a banded bird until it is revealed in the digital darkroom. The reason for this is the bands we typically come upon are small metal rings on the bird’s leg. There are times when The Beast is able to pull it in and can make out at least part of the number. These Trumpeters were sporting some major neck adornments. Based on a number of different angles, the full number could be read for a couple of them.


Banded Trumpeter Swans located in Elmwood IL March 2014

Decided to hunt through the web to see how to interpret the numbers. Maybe it would give clues on where they came from and at the time was hoping to get confirmation these were Trumpeters and Tundras. Those two species give me fits when trying to ID them. Discovered the USGS website while doing the search (link here). Curious as to where this would go, went about adding in the information gleamed from my shots.

Banded Trumpeter Swans located in Elmwood IL March 2014

I did apologize for the late reporting – think it was over a year from spotting it to when reporting it. That huge backlog of pictures bites me again. Anyway, figure it was still worth reporting – the worst that could come of it is they could simply ignore it, and the best, well if it helps to understand Trumpeter Swan migration and further our understanding of birds, then I am glad to help. As time went by, kind of forgot about the whole band reporting experience. Did remember how cute some of these shots were, the apparent couple were definitely enjoying each other’s company on the migration.

Banded Trumpeter Swans located in Elmwood IL March 2014

Sometime after the submission – do not recall the timing on that, this showed up in my inbox.

Banded Trumpeter Swans located in Elmwood IL March 2014

How cool is that!?! They took the time to thank me for my reporting efforts and even gave me details on who and when it was banded. Both of the birds reported were banded in Wisconsin when they were too young to fly. One in 2012 and one in 2010. Did think it was odd that the sex wasn’t recorded for these specimens. Here is the certificate for the second one.

Banded Trumpeter Swans located in Elmwood IL March 2014

Appreciated USGS taking the time to formerly respond to my reports. Just feel a lot closer to these magnificent birds taking the time for a quick rest on their journeys. I did take a quick look at their region map on Cornell. Looks like these Trumpeters might be a bit lost. Having been banded in Wisconsin, you would think they would be heading northwest from there, not south based on my pre-read assumption.

Hopefully these four Trumpeters have stayed safe and still enjoying whatever body of water they call home.



2 thoughts on “Trumpets in the Band”

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