January 21, 2020
The Not-So-Ugly Duckling
- as seen by -Kristin Strough
When one looks upon a trumpeter swan (Cygnus buccinator) what do they notice? Do they notice the pure white feathers gleaming in the pond as they swim? Do they notice the distinct black beak used to dabble in the water as they search for vegetation to eat? Could they notice the incredibly large and powerful wingspan that can be up to 10 feet in length? Or maybe they notice the distinct and loud vocalization that gave these swans their name, the “trumpeter swan.” Known to be the largest extant waterfowl in North America, these swans can reach up to 30 pounds and are found on lakes, ponds, large rivers, and even coastal bays.
Huey and Meghan are a pair of trumpeter swans currently living WCS’s Prospect Park Zoo. You may notice Meghan is very distinct as she swims around with a very regal presence. Her large size and pure white plumage can be spotted from almost anywhere in the pond. Huey, however, is a cygnet (or juvenile) that is still growing up. You will notice him by his smaller size and gray coloration. But don’t worry, as he grows his plumage will turn from gray to white, and he will grow into those awkwardly large feet. Both Meghan and Huey are young but with a little bit of luck and time, we hope the pair form a bond and hatch some “not so ugly ducklings” of their own.
Be sure to visit Meghan and Huey on the Marsh Pond near the Discovery Trail at the zoo any day, rain or shine, to watch their journey as they grow. Don’t forget to bring your quarters because waterfowl chow is sold at the feeding station where Meghan and Huey love to stop by to say hi.