Whooper Swan, SJ CO. 4/27/21

Frances Oliver

This afternoon I received an interesting Ebird sighting for SJ Co of a WHOOPER SWAN! This sighting was reported by Henry Koetzen @ River Island Park, an area located between Lathrop & Tracy. So I decided to go see this swan for myself after receiving a phone call from John Luther that it was still there. 

When I arrived John had it in view. Originally, it had been in the water accompanied by 2 Canada Geese. Now it was resting on the shoreline. This swan had a rusty head, large bill, with the yellow extending from the base of the bill almost to the tip. When it stood, no leg band or neck band was noted. It flapped its wing and called when I accidentally approached to closely. Wings appear to be intact. It took a few steps, with a very awkward gait; is it injured? Or just unsteady due to the slope? So where did it come from? Is it an escapee? It seems to be the wrong time of the year to have one in SJ County, plus I don’t think we have many, if any records.

According to accepted records by the CBRC, No records are usually seen past March 10, which is also reflective of the Tundra Swans in the state. The late date alone presents a problem to it being a wild bird, plus this bird being a lone individual. It would be interesting to find out if there are records of Lone individuals.  And many are now to be kept in captivity. So who know? 

An interesting bird, that’s for sure. It took me away from yard work 🤣

PS; thanks goes to David Yee for the info on CBRC records. 

Lodi, CA