Friday, February 5, 2010
Winter in the Delta
Click on today’s picture to see a trumpeter swan, a rare find in this area. The trumpeter is the largest waterfowl in North America and the largest swan in the world. I observed this single swan feeding on aquatic plants in a flooded rice field along with Northern Shoveler ducks. This arctic visitor was the first trumpeter I’ve found in the wild. Farmers often close drain pipes in levees surrounding level fields to allow the area to flood in the winter. While the flooded fields provide winter habitat for the waterfowl, the birds serve the farmers by sifting weed seeds from the mud. Good winter-time nutrition leads to greater reproductive success for the waterfowl. Nutrition is, likewise, being seen as being of great importance in managing healthy honey bees.