Barry Kent MacKayArt by Barry Kent MacKay
Art and Photo Presentation

In this section are copies of original works of art. All of them are dedicated to helping us live according to unconditional love and compassion, which is the foundation of our peaceful means of bringing true and lasting peace to all of God's creatures, whether they are human beings or other animals.

Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator)

Trumpeter Swan
(Artwork - 184)
Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator)

The bird books I cherished in my youth always described the Trumpeter Swan as either endangered and on the road to extinction, or a success story, on its way back from extinction. Over 17,600 swan skins were accounted for in the fur trade bet the Hudsonís Bay Company between 1853 and 1877, and most of those would have been from this species. In 1933 the estimate of less than 70 Trumpeter Swans in the wild was turned around mid-century by the discovery of a population of several thousand, up in Alaska. The species is relatively easy to maintain and breed in captivity, and there is now a healthy wild population. It is very similar to the Tundra Swan (C. columbianus) which breeds mostly above the treeline in tundra less attractive to the 18th and 19th century fur industry, thus was never endangered.

Traditionally Trumpeter Swans bred in forested and mountainous habitats, mostly in midwestern and western regions, but captive breeding and release programmes brought them into the east, and they adapted well to urban and suburban habitats. How far east they originally bred is a matter of conjecture and debate, with some suggesting they may have reached the east coast prior to European colonization. The birds where I live, in southern Ontario, derive entirely from released birds, and are, unlike their wild ancestors, essentially non-migratory. They ae often quite tame. They associate with non-native Mute Swans (C. olor), whose habits and behaviour are similar, although they feature the loud, discordant, bugling call for which they are named while Mute Swans are indeed mute, but for hissing. Both species are highly defensive of nest and nesting territory.

Like Mutes, they pull up submerged and emergent aquatic vegetation, including leaves, stems, roots and tubers. They may graze on grass or grain in fields and in summer take some animal food such as aquatic insects, small crustaceans, even minnows. Most of their feeding is done in the water.

This painting is in oils on compressed hardboard and is 30 by 24 inches.

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Copyright © Barry Kent MacKay
Barry describes himself as a Canadian artist/writer/naturalist.
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