Continent-wide Conservation

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Status

  • The most recent rangewide survey conducted by the U.S. and Canada during summer 2010 found a total of 46,225 Trumpeter Swans in North America, including 34,249 adults and 11,976 cygnets.
  • The next range-wide survey is scheduled for 2015.
  • Total Trumpeter Swans found on the six previous rangewide surveys were: 1968 - 3,722; 1975 - 5,085; 1980 - 8,847; 1985 - 10,908; 1990 - 15,625; 1995 - 19,756; 2000 - 23,647; and 2005- 34,803.

Issues

  • Trumpeter Swans have been extirpated from much of their original range in North America.
  • Significant portions of the Trumpeter's former wintering, breeding, and migration habitat has been lost and much of what remains is in danger of being lost or degraded.
  • For most populations, the available breeding habitat is capable of supporting more swans than the remaining winter habitat. As Trumpeter numbers continue to increase, there will be more and more pressure on the existing winter habitat.
  • Efforts to restore breeding Trumpeters are faced with many problems, including lead poisoning, powerline collisions, shootings, and climate change.
  • Restoration is slow and requires concerted effort over many years.
  • Restoration flocks are very slow to establish appropriate migration patterns.
  • In states that allow Tundra Swan hunting, careful management is required to prevent Trumpeter Swans from being shot during the hunting season.
  • Trumpeter Swans have the lowest genetic diversity of any waterfowl species that has been studied. Genetic considerations should be an important component of any restoration project in order to reduce the possibility of inbreeding.

TTSS' Efforts

  • Providing vision, coordination, and technical assistance to state, provincial, and federal management efforts.
  • Bringing Trumpeter Swan managers, researchers, and swan enthusiasts together at our biennial conferences and publishing the proceedings.
  • Establishing effective local working groups.
  • Coordinating marking efforts and observations.
  • Developing long-term funding for swan research, public education, and habitat protection.
  • Providing public education programs and materials.
  • Reviewing proposed projects or agency actions that could impact Trumpeter Swans and advocating for decisions that benefit the swans.
  • Reviewing all agency management plans for Trumpeter Swans or their habitats.

Accomplishments

  • Established a permanent endowment, the North American Swan Fund, to raise funds to help support swan habitat protection, public education, and research.
  • Participated in the planning and implementation of all Trumpeter Swan restoration efforts in North America since 1968.
  • Maintained contact and provided informational services to waterfowl biologists working continent-wide on Trumpeter Swan management and research.
  • Hosted 21 biennial conferences which have been the primary means of international exchange of information on Trumpeter Swans and their management.
  • Assisted in coordinating and conducting the 5-year range-wide Trumpeter Swan surveys.
  • Focused attention on the dangers of lead poisoning of Trumpeter Swans and supported research into rehabilitation of swans.
  • Co-sponsored the 4th International Swan Symposium at Warrenton, Virginia in 2001.
  • Printed a newsletter since 1969, and published our conference proceedings and other scientific papers on swans in our annual Bulletin, North American Swans.
  • Participate on the American Bird Conservancy Policy Council
  • Published a Trumpeter Swan Bibliography and a Captive Propagation Handbook.
  • Urged the preparation of an in-depth summation of "The History, Ecology, and Management of Rocky Mountain Trumpeter Swans."
  • Coordinated the use of rehabilitated birds and captive propagation stock in restoration projects.
  • Presented a paper "An evaluation of Trumpeter Swan Management Today and a Vision for the Future" at the 60th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference.
  • Presented a paper “Restoration of Trumpeter Swans in North America: A Century of Progress and Challenges” at the 4th International Swan Symposium in 2001.
  • Worked with banders and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Bird Banding Lab to review and revise the banding protocol for swans in North America.
  • Provided over 50 genetic samples from Yukon, British Columbia, and Idaho breeding Trumpeter Swans to aid ongoing genetic research.