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Trumpeter Swan Migration


In the Spring, Trumpeter Swans fly from the western coasts of Canada to their breeding grounds in Alaska shown in red on the migration map >>.

In late Fall, they fly back to their wintering grounds shown in blue on the map.

There are 3 types of Swans found in Alaska:
         -Trumpeter Swans
         -Tundra Swans
         -Whooper Swans

Trumpeter Swans are larger than Tundra Swans, but unless they are side by side, it is sometimes difficult to tell them apart judging by size alone.

To learn more about Tundra Swans, go to the Tundra Swan Gallery >>

  Common Name:
  Scientific Name:
  Trumpeter Swan
  Cygnus buccinator
  Breeding Range:
  Winter Range:
  Alaska & Northern America
  Coastal Pacific Regions
  140 to 170 cm (Adult)
  7 to 14 Kg (Adult)

Swans Taking Off

A group of Trumpeter Swans take off into the sunset in Interior Alaska. At dusk, the sun casts a warm magenta light onto the Swans feathers.

Swan Take Off

The Swans took off just in time to catch the last light of the day. Barely a minute later, the sun dropped below the horizon and the warm light faded into darkness...

Trumpeter Swans Take Off

As they migrate south in the Fall, Trumpeter Swans make a stop in the marshes near Anchorage. A Swan family with several cygnets was spotted on the glassy water just before they decided to take off...

Swans Taking Off

Photos of Trumpeter Swans taking off in the Fall.

Love Hate Relationship

Ponds can be crowded, and tension between neighbours will often lead to fighting to defend their territory.

Trumpeter Swans' courting ritual also includes a typical dance where they take turns bobbing their heads up and down while making calls (below).

Trumpeter Swan Cygnet

Cygnet in Flight

Photos of Trumpeter Swan Cygnets in the Spring (below) and Fall (left) in Alaska.

Unlike the adult Swans which have a disctinctive white plumage, the Cygnets have a grey plumage very noticeable the first year. Cygnets also have a pink beak instead of black.

Trumpeter Swan Courtship

During the Spring, Trumpeter Swans are seen exhibiting their courtship behaviours, extending their majestic wings to impress their mate.

Trumpeter Swans' courting ritual also includes a typical dance where they take turns bobbing their heads up and down while making calls.

Trumpeter Swans in Alaska

After they reach their breeding grounds in North America, Trumpeter Swans only have a short window to raise their chicks. In the Spring, they build a large nest usually located in a shallow pond. The nest, made of branches and vegetation, provides a comfortable home raised a few feet above the water.

Swan in the Spring
Swan Portrait

Photos of Trumpeter Swans taken in the Spring, Summer and Fall.

Swan and Cygnet

Swan Close Up
Swan Taking Off in the Fall

Trumpeter Swans Fighting

Whenever there is romance in the air, there is also rivalry. These two Trumpeter Swans were fighting to impress the ladies.

Trumpeter Swan Family

This proud Trumpeter Swan parent diligently attends to its progeny atop a comfortable nest. Trumpeter Swans usually raise several chicks through the summer.

Swan Watching Over Chicks

The Swan cygnets are only a few days old, but they already want to venture into the new world.

Trumpeter Swans in Flight

These majestic white birds fly so gracefully.

Leaving to warmer climates...


The water was as smooth as a mirror on this autumn evening.

Trumpeter Swans

Trumpeter & Tundra Swans are the two common species of Swans in Alaska. The latter is smaller and can be distinguished by a yellow dot on the side of the bill. In the Anchorage area, Trumpeter Swans are more numerous than their cousins.

Like Arctic Terns and Red Necked Grebes, Swans mate for life.

Frozen Landscape

Trumpeter Swans on the snow. White on white, they blend into the landscape.

See More Swans on the snow >

Trumpeter Swans in the Snow

The snow came early this past fall and surprised many swans in a storm..

Trumpeter Swans in the Marsh

Trumpeter Swans Fighting

With so many swans sharing the same pond, fights are inevitable.

Trumpeter & Tundra Swans


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