What native Montana bird can weigh up to 30 pounds and have a wingspan of eight feet? Here's a hint: it's not the bald eagle. These characteristics, in fact, belong to the trumpeter swan.
This unique bird, the largest waterfowl in North America, faced extinction a century ago in the United States, and would have vanished if not for the efforts of wildlife groups and government agencies. The total number of trumpeter swans has increased steadily since then. However, in certain areas of the western United States, populations are declining again. The trumpeter swan is an impressive and fascinating native Montana bird which may once again need our help.