Day 7: Seven Swans a Swimming
Canada is home to three species of swans: the native Tundra and Trumpeter Swans and the non-native Mute Swan, introduced from Europe and Asia in the 1870s. Once endangered, Trumpeter Swan populations in Canada are recovering from over-hunting that nearly led to their demise in the early 1900s. These birds are still vulnerable to habitat loss and are particularly susceptible to lead poisoning because of their feeding habits.
Swans dip their heads and necks to feed on leaves, tubers and roots from the bottom substrate. On water bodies heavily hunted with lead ammunition, swans accidentally ingest lead shot, which then breaks down in the gizzard to release lead into the bloodstream. Swans and raptors have been the focus of many programs educating hunters on using non-toxic, rather than lead-based ammunition.
Photo: Hamilton Greenwood