Trumpeter Watch

The original focus of Trumpeter Watch was south of the 40th parallel from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Coast. However, as of January 2015 we accept all observations from the United States, Canada, and Mexico made between 1 October and 1 May.

Why we need your help!

  • By 1900 Trumpeter Swans were virtually gone from their nesting and wintering areas in Central and Eastern North America because of market hunting for their skin and feathers. With few to no swans remaining in these regions, their historic migrations to southerly wintering sites were totally destroyed.
  • Over the past several decades wild nesting populations of Trumpeters have been successfully restored in several northerly states and Ontario. Most swans now winter near their northern breeding areas. However, an unknown number are pioneering southward where they are beginning to establish use of more southerly wintering sites. We need your help tracking these "pioneers" and where they winter.
  • Right now, little is known regarding about the numbers and groupings of southward migrants, the location and characteristics of the sites they are pioneering, how long they remain at those sites, or problems they may be encountering.
  • By participating in Trumpeter Watch, you can be part of a valuable grass roots effort to identify and document the emerging migrations of wintering Trumpeter Swans.

Have fun, learn about the swans, and put your skills to work for their benefit!

How to Begin

  1. Please submit your sighting to us by email to If you plan to report regularly, we ask that you REGISTER with TRUMPETER WATCH to make our communication most efficient.
  2. Be sure to include any information on your swan sighting, such as the number of swans and their age (adult - white - or immature - gray - birds) and the presence of collars or wing-tags.
  3. Location detail is very helpful. List the state and county, a landmark such as a park, a lake, an intersection we can find on a Google map, and GPS coordinates if at all possible.
  4. Please report any first observation of a Trumpeter Swan at a new location to us by email as soon as possible, by using our Trumpeter Swan Sightings Report Form.
  5. We encourage you to regularly check on the location to observe further the duration and pattern of use by Trumpeters. While even a single observation is helpful, repeated observations with arrival and departure dates are especially valuable, particularly in new terrain being used by Trumpeter Swans. If you wish, we have a Summary Report Form available.


Observe with care! Note the swans' response to human presence and keep sufficient distance to avoid causing them to leave. We welcome photo submissions to document your sightings when possible. These can be sent to use directly in email, or you can post them to The Trumpeter Swan Society FACEBOOK site .

Careful Identification
We provide many useful tips, including vocalization recordings, in the ID section of this website. At times, it is quite challenging to distinguish Trumpeter Swans from Tundra Swans, particularly cygnets. When possible, attach a photo and we will help confirm ID. Even if the species cannot be determined with certainty, if you are in an area where wintering swans are unusual, your observation could be quite helpful to identify a site's future potential.

Clear description of location
Note name of state, county, closest town or recognizable location such as a lake, park or refuge. Additionally, you may note township, range section, lat-long coordinates or GPS coordinates, if known. If you can include a small map of the site, that would be very helpful.

Details on the sighting
To the best of your ability, note age class (adult birds are white, juvenile birds (cygnets) are gray. Note total numbers of Trumpeter, Tundra, or unidentified swans. Note behavior (feeding, flying overhead, loafing/resting). General notes on other species in the area are of interest, such as in mixed flock with 300 Snow Geese, etc.

Details on habitat characteristics
Notes on human activities in the area and swan reaction, notes on any obvious hazards or attractive attributes of the sites, food resources, water conditions, use by other waterfowl, etc.

If Trumpeters are regularly using a location in your area, we would value further details or photo documentation of the habitat if you are willing to provide this level of detail. Details of what to observe in this SITE CHARACTERISTIC ASSESSMENT will be given to regular observers as needed.


We strongly encourage TRUMPETER WATCH observers to join TTSS. We are working diligently to help rebuild secure distributions as populations recover. We deal with challenges ranging from habitat loss to lead poisoning. Where Trumpeter Swans thrive, a host of other wetland-associated species will also prosper. Memberships start at $35.00 ($25.00 for Retirees and Students) and we need your contributions to help us accomplish our goals.