The trumpeter swan is the largest bird that migrates through Alberta, in the spring and fall. They nest in select areas such as the Saskatoon Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary. It takes this massive bird 100 metres of swimming, flapping, and running over water to gather enough speed to take flight. In this activity, you will learn what it’s like to be a trumpeter swan! Trumpeter swans have large webbed feet, so you will need snowshoes to get into character.
BONUS Egg Warmer Challenge
Trumpeter swans use their giant webbed feet to gently wrap around their eggs to keep them warm. See if you can warm up an egg using only your feet, for 2 minutes, without breaking it!
Step 1: Ask your adult if it’s okay.
Step 2: Take an egg out of the fridge and set a timer for 2 minutes.
Step 3: Using only your feet, see if you can warm up the egg, without breaking it!
Swan Snowshoe Challenge
What you will need:
- 100 metres of open space covered in snow
Step 1: Find a 100-metre-long area that is covered in snow. A football or soccer field is 100 m in between goal posts so is the perfect size. If you do not have a football field nearby, try measuring and estimating 100 m using Google Earth. Use the ruler to measure 100 m of space in a nearby park and identify landmarks that will help you estimate the distance when you get there on foot.
Step 2: Get on all your winter gear and head out to your 100-m flyway.
Step 3: Strap on your snowshoes, which will be your giant flipper swan feet. Practice walking around with your snowshoes to get the hang of it. Imagine you are a graceful swan.
Step 4: Line up at the start line. Ready, get set, go! Snowshoe the full 100-m distance. If you are an experienced snowshoer, see if you can run the distance. If you are a beginner, walking speed will be challenging enough.
Step 5: Appreciate how much effort it takes a 25-pound (11-kg) trumpeter swan to gather enough momentum to take flight from the water on a 100-m flyway!