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Winter heralds

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Posted: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 11:33 pm | Updated: 4:16 pm, Fri Jan 25, 2013.

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner editorial

The last waterfowl to leave Interior Alaska each fall are the trumpeter swans. These days, we have far more of these grand birds to admire in the October skies, according to researchers who have confirmed scientifically what many Alaskans have sensed anecdotally.

According a federal researcher quoted by The Associated Press, the estimated Alaska population in 2010 was about 25,000, up from about 2,800 in 1968.

Trumpeter swans are a now regular sight for Interior residents during the spring, summer and fall months.

The enormous white birds are hard to miss, whether airborne or settled on a pond.

However, their fall migratory flights seem more noteworthy. By the first few weeks of October, almost all the geese, cranes and ducks have left.

When those deep, bugling calls come from high overhead on a clear, freezing evening and the sun’s orange rays light up the spectacular white birds, we know winter can’t be far behind.

More heralds trumpeting the approach of winter might not always warm the heart, but the growing number of trumpeters is nevertheless a welcome change.

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