Steve Van Kekerix and I traveled to Monticello this week to see the trumpeter swans that hang out in the Mississippi River. To arrive at the viewing area by sunrise required leaving Two Harbors before 4:30 AM. I try not to get up at 4:00 AM very often but this seemed to be a worthy cause.
The nuclear generating plant upstream from the swan viewing area keeps the water in the Mississippi River open year round. About 20 years ago, Sheila, an elderly lady who lives along the river, started feeding about a dozen swans that hung out in the open water. Every year the population grew. Now she feeds approximately 1,500 trumpeters plus mallards and Canadian geese. It must be a labor of love as she spends about $650 on corn every week. Each day from November through March she walks down to the riverbank and distributes the corn. Watching the birds flock around her during feeding time is quite a sight to see and the noise is deafening.