Yellowstone is celebrating another species recovery milestone. For the first time since 1966, trumpeter swan cygnets have fledged from Swan Lake, in northern Yellowstone National Park. Four cygnets hatched at the lake about four months ago. It takes only about 1½ days for the newly born cygnets to leave the nest and follow their parents into the water to begin feeding.
At first, they can only dabble and graze, then as time passes, they learn to forage and care for themselves while staying close together as a family group. About three to four months after birth, they begin to fly making short trips around the area. Of the four cygnets that were born on Swan Lake, one took a little longer to develop the ability to fly. It could not sustain flight with the rest of the cygnets and was left behind when the lake started to freeze over.
Sometimes when a cygnet is not able to fly before freeze-up in autumn, it will die. In this case, the weather warmed up and the lone cygnet was able to forage on its own in the lake; and in about a week and a half, the family returned and reunited with the fourth cygnet.
The fourth cygnet was finally able to fly and earlier this month they all left together to find open water.