The ghostly mountains lurking in the background is a great representation of how the winter season is now behind us. Although this is a relief for many, these families of Trumpeter Swans (Cygnus buccinator) make the cold weather seem enjoyable and less frigid. This week I am writing to you from Singapore where I am surely feeling the heat and humidity, so I have a great appreciation and envy for this mid-winter picture.
This week, our selected photographer, Patty, has captured a chilled look at the Cheam Indian Reserve in the Fraser Valley. The word “Cheam” means “wild strawberry place” which sounds like a great place to be! As well, Mount Cheam is the guardian for the community and it overlooks most of the Fraser Valley. The Cheam traditionally speak Halkomelem which is part of the Salishan language. However, it has been reported that there are only 5 fluent speakers and around 35 learning speakers.
This area also appears to be the playground for families of Trumpeter Swans and they can be seen exploring the newly melted waters with their young hatchlings. Trumpeter Swans are the largest waterfowl species on Earth and are a close relative to the Whooper Swan in Eurasia, some have even considered them to be the same species. Their name is attributed to their trumpet-like call but can sometimes sound more like a nasally honk. When I first heard their call it reminded me of when I used to ‘play’ the trumpet, if you would like to hear their call click here!
Since this picture was snapped during the end of winter, this means that these Swans will soon be entering a period or flightlessness. Each year, adult Swans molt all their feathers which makes them flightless for 1-2 months. During this time the Swans will nest in wetland vegetation such as cattails, but they’ve also been known to nest in beaver lodges.