Big Birds

These swans are neither ugly nor ducklings.

By: Rich Burkman

When the gray and bedraggled hatchling throws off its shell and gazes at the world for the first time, it sees white. Lots and lots of white. That view of its mother’s belly is a cygnet’s introduction to the world as a member of one of its most striking bird families—the swans. North America has three resident swan species: the trumpeter (Cygnus buccinator), tundra (Cygnus columbianus), and mute (Cygnus olor) swans.


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