Posts Tagged ‘Ontario’

The Trumpeter Swan Society Photo-of-the-Month, August, 2010

August 9, 2010
Trumpeter Swan on the Wing by Matthew Fells

Trumpeter Swan on the Wing, by Matthew Fells

Professional Photographer and TTSS Photo-of-the-Month host Greg Smith says:

Matthew’s photograph of this Trumpeter Swan shows excellent depth of field as depicted by the face being in crisp focus as well as the band on the bird’s right leg. The pose of extended wings positions the bird to show its entire underside . The sky, with its diffuse gray clouds, takes the edge off of the contrast there by allowing for a well exposed subject, without any heavy shadows. And if you read Matthew’s comments on the shot, you will note that he captured the photograph without the benefit of autofocus. Nice shot.

There is one more aspect that stands out in the photograph – the patagial wing tags. Matthew’s excellent photograph will allow researchers to document the specific bird coupled with the location and date of the photograph. Researchers utilize specific alpha-numeric codes and colors to identify individuals. So, given the following information, where was this bird banded? You’ll find the reference to various codes for tags and bands on another Blog posting – stored in our management section, or the January 2010 archives. Here you will find that yellow tags with black code ### (3 numbers) or a letter followed by two numbers = Ontario. Likely this bird was banded by volunteer Beverly Kingdon and helpers at LaSalle Park – read more about these efforts in the Blog posting stored in our management section (or the February 2010 archives).

Featured Photographer for August, 2010 – Matthew Fells, Barrie, Ontario:

I am originally from Nova Scotia, and am currently working at the Simcoe County Archives in Ontario. I consider myself a hobbyist /enthusiast photographer.

I was able to get this photograph after spending several hours at the Tiny Marsh Provincial Wildlife Area, a Canadian Important Bird Area in Simcoe County, Ontario. Tiny Marsh was Ontario’s first owned and managed wetlands and is place I enjoy photographing ducks, geese, and Red-winged Blackbirds. On this day, I’d seen a pair of swans in the distance, but they were content to stay well out of range. I’d recently read that geese like to take off into the wind and often displace in the evening before sunset, so I moved to a downwind position on the causeway and waited.

And waited. And waited. After an hour or two, I got a bit bored and started taking pictures of closer species, among them the two Trumpeter Swans. I glanced back and saw that they were heading right for me, so I swung around and fired off a few bursts as they flew toward, and then over me. I was using an old Nikon Series E 70-210mm lens, so I didn’t have auto-focus or metering on my D90. Quite a few of the shots I got were out of focus, but a couple of the shots were keepers.

We are pleased that Matthew was willing to share this “keeper” shot in support of Trumpeter Swans and The Trumpeter Swan Society. Find more his images on his Flickr site,

The Trumpeter Swan Society (TTSS) Salutes Two Sweethearts

February 13, 2010

"Sweethearts " Trumpeter Swans by CJ Metcalf

Trumpeter Swans are known for the intensity of their pair bond, which serves them well in the tenacity needed to care for large yet still vulnerable young.  Trumpeter parents invest a great deal in parenting, taking care of large offspring for much of a year. You can read more about their strong attachment on our website, in the section by biologist Ruth Shea; The Key to Understanding Trumpeter Swans.

Keeping pace with Valentine’s Day celebrations of pair bonds, we recognize a couple who have strengthened their bond by sharing a passion – their mutual love for Trumpeter Swans.  The title of a recent Hamilton Spectator news article featuring Ontario’s Beverly and Ray Kingdon says it all:  “Volunteers pour hearts into safeguarding revival of Trumpeters.”

Working in winter in Ontario, Canada, the Kingdons are as tenacious as the birds.  Nearly every winter day finds them pursuing their hands-on passion. Together, they capture and release Trumpeters into cold winter waters of Ontario’s lakes.  In the last 5 years, Bev and Ray have marked and banded over 400 Trumpeter Swans.  To accomplish this, they feed the swans 4,000 kg (almost 9000 lbs!) of corn each winter. After work, they do a lot of laundry.  These are not typical pair-bonding tasks, but for this intrepid pair of sweethearts – it works!

Since 1993, Bev and Ray have helped former Environment Minister and TTSS Board Member, Harry Lumsden, monitor Ontario’s efforts to recover the magnificent Trumpeter Swan.  Theirs is physical work. At LaSalle Park, they first feed Trumpeters so they become tame enough to be tagged.  The captures are done by hand, which requires skill and care.  The operation is often accompanied by riotous splashing or a dunk (for one or the other) in ice-cold water.  Ray reports, “the tagged birds don’t hold a grudge and soon return to be fed again.” Bev keeps detailed records of who’s who and who’s from where, which she shares here on our TTSS Blog.

The Kingdons are a good team.  Ray does much of the wrestling, competently straddling the bird to minimize its stress.  They work fast, often with the help of friend Kyna Intini.  They use a numbered metal band provided by the Canadian Wildlife Service that they secure on a swan’s leg with special pliers. They also attach a yellow wing tag (see previous Blog posting on wing tags) with a black three-number/letter combination unique to each Trumpeter.  These can be observed at a distance, enabling biologists to track their movements in Ontario and beyond.

Bev and Ray have been married for close to 50 years.  Their passion for Trumpeter Swans started 26 years ago when they took responsibility for a pair of captive Trumpeters on their farm in northern Ontario. The cygnets produced by this pair were released to fly free as part of the Ontario restoration projectWe applaud their many hours of dedicated volunteer work to insure the security and vitality of wild Trumpeter Swans. 

We thank C.J. Metcalf, of Norman, Oklahoma, for sharing this wonderful photo, appropriately entitled  “Sweethearts.”  Find more of her photographs here.