gunshot ornithology

My angst in seeing the Evans photo was realizing that the swam could have been the last Trumpeter in North Dakota [collected in 1891]. Early naturalists, including John James Audubon in his 1843 sojourn to Fort Union, saw swans in large numbers during summer. Valued for their meat, skin, and feathers, Trumpeters were gone from North Dakota and Minnesota by 1900. Until rediscovery in the 1930s in Red Rock Lakes, Montana, and later in Alaska, Trumpeter Swans were widely believed to be extinct. Since 1960, Trumpeters have spread from introductions into Minnesota and South Dakota ... Ironically, in the same year the North Dakota Museum of Art acquired the Terry Evans photo for its permanant collection, a pair has come to nest. Once again, the trumpeting call of the largest of all waterfowl, snow white feathers, contrasting with the black bill, facial sking, eyes, legs and feet, can be heard in North Dakota.
Dr. David Lambeth

Terry Evans: Trumpeter Swan, North Dakota, collected 1891, photographed 2001. Cuygnus Buccinator, Iris print. ©Terry Evans.

(Thanks, Martha.)