[Tweeters] Whooper swan has a juvenile with it?

tomboulian at comcast.net tomboulian at comcast.net
Sun Feb 13 19:42:49 PST 2022

I was intrigued by Scott A.’s observations on e-bird regarding the immature swan that has been continuously associating with the adult Whooper. I had the exact same reaction—that the immature was not like any of the other immature Trumpeters or Tundras, especially the bill shape and “hairline”, but also the coloration and thin neck. It was a cloudy day, so any bill coloration was not noted, but looking back now I see several light-colored areas along the top ridge of the upper mandible. To me, the interaction between the two seemed to be one I would expect between a parent and child—constantly interacting, looking at each other, probing the same wheat grass, never more than a few feet apart. Occasionally the known adult Whooper would rebuff the youngster with raised wings and a chest-butt—as if to say “that’s close enough, you need to learn how to feed on your own now”

Either that or the smallest kid on the “prison farm” yard was seeking protection from the biggest fellow..

I got swan-eyed looking at pictures on the internet and thought I reached out to an expert but didn’t get a response. I sense there’s a lot of variability in the timing of plumage changes, like puberty. The thought crossed my mind that a very late cygnet could be a reason an adult would stay too long at the nest site and then end up joining a different flock.

Anyways, just somewhat encouraged to throw that out there now. I have a lot of photos of different angles from 4 days ago if anyone fancies themselves a swan expert. Lord knows I’m not—I was just happy to be able to differentiate TUSW from TRSW

Mark Tomboulian

tomboulian at comcast dot net
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