The largest of North American waterfowl and the largest swan in the world, the Trumpeter Swan is resident throughout much of its range, but migratory in other parts. Its was reduced to near extinction by the early 20th century, but it is relatively common today.
During the 19th century Trumpeter Swans were abundant throughout North America. However, overhunting and domestication of their habitats (lakes, rivers, flatlands,and esturaries) caused the Trumpeter Swan population to decrease near to extinction .They were hunted for their meat, skins, and down (used for powder puffs, fill for bedding, and other commercial uses). Due to protection laws, like the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and public awareness the Trumpeter Swan population increased. The population grew from 700 in 1974 to 2,200 in 1992 (Neithammer, 1992). Now the Trumpeter Swans are seen as a vulnerable species instead of an endangered species.
There is a population of about 300 that winter along the St. Croix River in Hudson, WI. This morning, we watched Brad, a Hudson resident, feed about 150 of these majestic birds. Video: http://www.vimeo.com/18048585