Trumpeter Watch

OUR FOCUS IS ON THESE STATES: KS, OK, NM, EASTERN CO, MO, AR, SOUTHERN IL, SOUTHERN IN, KY, TN, TX, LA, MS, AL, VA, WV, NC, SC, MD, DE, DC
ADDITIONAL WESTERN STATES: OR, CA, NV, ID, WY, UT, AZ, NM, CO
DATES: Please send records for Winter Season: Nov 1 - May 1


Why is your help needed?

  • By 1900 Trumpeter Swans were extirpated from their nesting and wintering areas in Central and Eastern North America. Their historic migrations to southerly wintering sites were totally destroyed.
  • In recent 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, but an unknown number are pioneering southward where they are beginning to establish use of more southerly wintering sites.
  • Little is known regarding the numbers and groupings of southward migrants, the location and characteristics of the sites they are pioneering, the duration of use, or problems they may be encountering.
  • By providing information through Trumpeter Watch, observers can help document the changing distribution of wintering Trumpeter Swans and help identify potential new southerly wintering sites.

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

How to Begin

  1. Please submit your sighting directly to our partner in this project, "eBird" of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. You may also send them direct to us by mail, or email to trumpeterwatch@trumpeterswansociety.org. 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 # of swans and their age (adult - white - or immature - gray - birds) and the presence of collars or wing-tags. Put these remarks in the comment section if you are reporting only to "eBird". If you post to a state Listserv, a simple message to us such as "see my post of January 12, 2011" will be sufficient.
  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 email or by using our Trumpeter Swan Sightings Report Form. Last year we had several new county records for several of the southern states.
  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.

OBSERVATION DATA AND PHOTOGRAPHS

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.

Data Summary

Beginning January 1, 2010, we will summarize sighting locations for each state of interest online so observers can readily see what we are learning. TRUMPETER WATCH observers will receive monthly ENEWS from TTSS that will feature an update on observers and noteworthy reports. TTSS will summarize the data to create a multi-state overview of the swans' changing winter distribution, the habitats they are using, and make the information widely available to all who are interested Trumpeter Swan conservation and management.

JOIN US!

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.