(6) Waterfowl of the Tainionvirta River
The Finnish national bird, whooper swan (Cygnus cygnus), is the most common swan on the Tainionvirta. They differ from Bewick’s swan (Cygnus columbianus ssp bewickii) by their bigger size and from the mute swan (Cygnus olor) by their straight necks and the clearly yellow coloration on their bills. The mute swan has curving neck, an obvious black lump on its bill and the base of its bill is red or orange. The whooper swan nearly died out in the 1950s before the books of Yrjö Kokko and active propaganda and support work succeeded in declaring the bird protected everywhere in Finland. Nowadays the number of whooper swans is estimated at about 50,000.
Whooper swan flying
Mute swans eating
Whooper swans have nested for several years on the shore of Äijönsaari Island
Both the parents take active care of the little ones
Along the natutrail you can see other waterfowl. Mallards (Anas plathyryngos), wigeons (Anas penelope), common teals (Anas crecca) re, common goldeneyes (Bucephala clangula), red-breasted mergansers (Mergus serrator), common mergansers (Mergus merganser) and smews (Mergellus albellus) arrive early in the spring to the Ekonkoski rapid and many stay and nest in the area.
A couple of smews flying
Red-breasted mergansers in the lake Jääsjärvi
A merganser family in a hurry!