Just got home from spending Fri & Sat taking our annual winter trip by snowcoach into Yellowstone. One of the birding highlights was seeing a total of 30 Trumpeter Swans yesterday, scattered along the Madison & Firehole Rivers. For those keeping up with the Trumpeters, Yellowstone summer nesting success numbers have dropped significantly the past few years.
That's believed to be related to lake trout in Yellowstone Lake. (Hope I understood the dynamics correctly, Ruth Shea). The lake trout eat cutthroat trout, which the Bald Eagles usually eat. Hence, Bald numbers are down & those remaining have been eating Swan Cygnets. To the point, that last year, not a single Trumpeter Cygnet survived. Hopefully, as the lake trout numbers are continued to be exterminated, cutthroats &, hence, Eagles, Osprey & Swans will rebound. And the Eagles will move back to cutthroat trout & leave the young Swans alone.
So, it was good to observe a number of Trumpeters wintering in the Park and, might explain, why I see almost daily overhead flights of Trumpeter Swans here along the Snake River. No lake trout.
This morning, I went out to fill my empty feeders. While walking out with a scoop of thistle seed, to fill the feeder, I was bombarded by a half dozen Pine Siskins. They literally landed on the feeder while I was filling it within inches of my hands! Could hardly focus on them with my bifocals, they were so close. Quite a satisfying homecoming.