Trumpeter Swans of the Centennial Valley

Trumpeter Swan keeping an eye on meTrumpeter Swan keeping an eye on me – Nikon D810, f8, 1/1600, ISO 500, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR, natural light

It has gotten harder and harder to think of winter birds here because it does not seem like winter at all with day time temps ranging from the upper 40’s to low 50’s so I have started dreaming of spring, summer, longer days and camping in some of my favorite places.

One of the locations  I am daydreaming about is the Centennial Valley of Montana and the birds I find there. Trumpeter Swans come to mind because the swans there helped to repopulate Trumpeter Swans in their historical range after decades of declining populations.

Preening Trumpeter SwanPreening Trumpeter Swan – Nikon D810, f8, 1/2500, ISO 500, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR, natural light

In 1932 there were fewer than 200 Trumpeter Swans and now due to conservation efforts they number over 9,000. They are a conservation success story and quite frankly we need more successes like this. I simply can not imagine Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge without seeing their enchanting beauty or hearing their trumpeting calls.

Trumpeter Swan in MontanaTrumpeter Swan in Montana – Nikon D810, f8, 1/2500, ISO 500, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR, natural light

I photographed these Trumpeter Swans of the Centennial Valley at Elk Lake last September, this pair didn’t have any young with them so they might not have had a successful breeding season or perhaps they were too young to breed yet. They weren’t skittish but did keep an eye on the pickup. They fluffed and preened and when they were done they swam gracefully away.

Life is good.


For more information about Trumpeter Swans check out the Trumpeter Swan Society.


  1. Humming Bird Lover February 1, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    HI! Love your photo’s The only time I have seen Swans was at parks,etc. Never in the wild! Lucky,lucky you! Keep up your great shooting of all of Gods wonderful gifts to mankind!

  2. Elephant's Child January 27, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Majestic marvels. And how wonderful to hear of a conservation success story. Thank you.

  3. Chris Rohrer January 27, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    Life is amazing! Those birds are stunners. It one of the swans I really want to see someday. I’m glad their numbers are expanding.

  4. Kathie January 27, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    Mia, they are so lovely and your photos are so perfect and wonderfully composed and exposed! I would love to see this place and all the birds that dwell there!

  5. Jolanta January 27, 2015 at 11:49 am

    They are so beautiful and elegant! Excellent photos, thanks!

  6. Patty Chadwick January 27, 2015 at 10:33 am

    These beautiful bitds are so noble and elegant looking…I wish I could see them myself and watch them swim and feed.

  7. Sherry in MT January 27, 2015 at 8:44 am

    I am daydreaming of the same place. You’ve got me so interested in going to see it that I’m hoping to take the new trailer down there and spend some time this year!

  8. Humming Bird Lover January 27, 2015 at 8:42 am

    HI! the swan are so beautiful! They look like the snow that finally came to Virginia this am. you do such great photo’s you always make my day! Have a special day today!

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