Skip navigation

Category Archives: Cygnet

There were a few Trumpeter Swans hanging around Crex Meadows. I was a little curious about the banded cygnet. It was my understanding they discontinued banding cygnets several years ago but this one was recently banded.


My wife and I made a late spring visit to Crex Meadows. When we arrived there was a large gathering of adult swans along the Phantom Lake Road. They didn’t seem to be inclined to move so I was able to capture some nice closeups of them.

We also encountered several pairs of swans with cygnets.


We encountered a few Trumpeter Swan Cygnets on a recent visit to Crex Meadows.


On a recent visit to Crex Meadows Wildlife Area we were fortunate to see a number of cygnets with their parents.


Last week at Crex Meadows we encountered a pair of Trumpeter Swans with their Cygnets. We noticed the male walking out onto the road and looking around. It appeared that he was waiting for something. Soon he crossed the road and entered the water before taking off. He didn’t fly far.


Soon the female came onto the road with three little ones. I got a little too close and she went into protective mode.

They finally decided to cross the road and started feeding right beside the car.



We made a late spring visit to Crex Meadows last week. Our first stop was a Bald Eagle nest on Phantom Lake Road. One of the adults was sitting by the nest and there were two young in the nest. It looked like they were just about ready to leave the nest.

When we reached Phantom Lake we found a number of pairs of Canada Geese with their young. This adult seemed to be upset with something and it kept chasing other geese.

There were a number of pairs of Trumpeter Swans with their young. The adults were furiously churning the water. I assume to free plants from the bottom so they would float to the surface and the Cygnets could feed on them.

One of the popular attractions this year has been Killdeer nesting in the roads around the flowage.

We also found this Leatherback Turtle laying eggs along the road.

The spring flowers were out in the meadows. Indian Paintbrush and Yellow Water Lilies were common.

We encountered a number of White-tailed Deer in our drive through the meadows.

The young ducks have also hatched and could be found on the flowages.

Late summer is probably not the best time to visit Crex Meadows. The summer flowers and butterflies are gone and the Sandhill Cranes have not started their fall migration. My wife and I were a little desperate to get out. We haven’t been able to get out much because of a home remodeling project and the constant rain. The weather was looking good for a couple of days so we decided to drive up to Crex. The Northern Lights were supposed to be out and I hopped to get some star trail shots.

We drove around looking for wildlife but didn’t find a lot to photograph. There were a few Eagles perched out in the marsh but they were quite far away. There were some Pied-billed Grebes and Trumpeter Swans but they were too far away to photograph.

It was a beautiful day in the morning and early afternoon but as sunset came the clouds moved in and there was no sunset or clear skies so we called it a night.

The next morning didn’t start off much better. I had planned to get up early to photograph some star trails but decided it was going to be too cloudy. It turned out to be a good decision. This was as close as we got to a sunrise.

Phantom Lake Sunrise

Phantom Lake Sunrise

Things picked up a little later in the morning when the sun created some really nice light against the clouds and provided a little color on the horizon.

Crex Meadows

Crex Meadows

As we drove around we could hear the Sandhill Cranes off in the marsh. Soon they started to fly out to their feeding grounds. I was lucky enough to catch this family before they headed out. Although there were only about a hundred swans around there will be thousands of them during the fall migration. Check out my blog for additional fall Sandhill Crane photography information.

Sandhill Crane Family

Sandhill Crane Family

On the north side of the refuge we found a family of Trumpeter Swans near the road. We counted at least three cygnets although it was difficult to tell because they were hidden in the weeds.

Trumpeter Swan Family

Trumpeter Swan Family

As we were leaving Crex Meadows I put my camera gear away. Big Mistake! As were driving through Grantsburg near North Oak Street and Memory Lake a mama bear and three cubs ran across the road and down the sidewalk.

We made a trip to Crex Meadows in mid June just after the Trumpeter Swan Cygnets hatched. They were probably only about a week old but it appears they are born eating.Trumpeter-Swans-14-6-_5789

In our drives around the park we saw more Cygnets than at any time in the past. This pair had five Cygnets that had survived to this point. Earlier they had seven but Snapping Turtles seem to take a toll on young waterfall.Trumpeter-Swans-14-6-_5734


Earlier in the week it looked like we were going to have a couple of days of sunny weather so my wife and I decided to drive to Grantsburg to visit Crex meadows. We wanted to make the visit in the spring but the weather just didn’t cooperate.


We arrived late in the afternoon and made a quick stop at the visitors center to see if anything of importance was happening in the Meadows. The mention of five different groups of Cygnets caught my attention. The education officer pointed out where in the Meadows they were located.


We took our usual route through the Meadows checking all of the locations where the swans with cygnets might be. We saw a couple of different batches but they were quite a ways from the road. As we wound our way back through the flowages we encountered them again and this time they were a little closer to the road.


We returned to Grantsburg for dinner and then headed back out to watch the sunset and look for more swans. We hadn’t gone too far before we noticed a pair of swans with cygnets right next to the road. They had six cygnets, which was the most we saw during the trip. They were actually so close I couldn’t photograph them with my birding lens on. They moved out into the flowage with the evening sunset reflecting golden colors off of them.


We then encountered another batch of them. They were quite a ways from the road but when we stopped one of the adults took off honking as it went. I started photographing the remaining swans with storm clouds in the background. As I was photographing them I started to hear the honking get louder and louder. I turned around in time to see that the adult had circled around and was heading back to the family.


It was a great couple of days. We saw five different sets of Trumpeter Swans with cygnets. More photos from Crex Meadows can be found on my website.

This past weekend the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin held a Trumpeter Swan Cygnet round up and banding at Crex Meadow. I first heard about it earlier this year when I read an article in the April edition of Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine. The article described some of the great opportunities the organization has for citizen participation in enjoying and protecting our natural resources. I was particularly interested in the description of the Cygnet round up because I’m a frequent visitor to Crex Meadows.

To participate in the roundup you had to be an experienced and physically fit paddler which excludes me. Never-the-less I was still interested so I drove up to Crex Meadows the evening before to check on conditions in the Meadow and take a few sunset photos.

The next morning I drove out for some sunrise photos then drove around the Meadows looking for birds. Shortly after eight I drove back to the visitors center to see if that is where the participants were meeting. It was but they we in an orientation session. It looked like there were over a dozen cars with kayaks and canoes on them. I drove back out to the Meadows to look for some more birds. When I returned to the visitors center the group had gone out to look for birds but I didn’t know where. I decided to drive back out to the Meadows and look for them.

Initially I couldn’t find the group but after driving around a bit I noticed a plane flying around a flowage in the north part of the Meadow so I drove up that direction. As it turned out it was the spotter plane that had located the cygnets and was coordinating the capture from the air.

I hung around until they returned with two captured cygnet’s. I watched as they brought them ashore. The group looked a little exhausted after the chase. Apparently the going was difficult because the marsh was thick with grass and reeds. The cygnets had gone into the grass to escape the pursers.

I was surprised how calm the birds seemed to be when they were brought ashore. The group had laid out a couple of tarps with the supplies they would need to band, perform a health check and collar the cygnets. They first attempted to put a collar on them but the cygnets were too small and would have likely lost the collar within 24 hours. ┬áTheir only choice was to put some leg bands on them. They also took blood tests and weighted them. The whole process took about an hour. All the while someone had to hold the cygnets down so they wouldn’t escape or hurt themselves.

When they were finished gathering the information they needed both cygnets were released, at the same time, back into the flowage.



More photos of the Trumpeter Swan Cygnet round up and banding can be found on my Website.

%d bloggers like this: