Interior Population

Photograph by A Fredrickson

Central, Mississippi and Atlantic Flyways

Nearly one quarter of all North America's Trumpeter Swans occur in the Interior Population (IP). In 2010, there were over 9,800 Trumpeter swans in the IP. Most of these swans winter in rivers and wetlands not far from their nesting and breeding grounds, but each year more swans are migrating to winter farther south. TTSS's (Trumpeter Watch program is an opportunity for you to help track migrations and new wintering sites).

Market hunting to supply swan quills, feathers, and skins for Europeans completely removed all Trumpeters from central and eastern North America by the early 1900s. The Trumpeter Swans now in the IP are all from restoration programs that began in the 1960s using Trumpeters from Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in Montana, and later, eggs from Alaska. These restoration programs are filled with many tales of adventure and partnerships. They demonstrate the dedication, passion, and commitment of individuals, agencies, and organizations to bring back the Trumpeter Swan to a vast swath of North America where it had been hunted to extinction. TTSS played a pivotal role with expert science based technical support in most of the major restoration programs.

Today the IP is self-sustaining and increasing due to the restoration work in South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Ohio, Ontario and other areas. Trumpeter Swans are easily observed in some areas during the nesting season. They gather in larger numbers in some key wintering areas on open rivers such as the Mississippi, Missouri, Au Sable, and St. Croix, or on managed wetland areas.

The major threats facing Trumpeter Swans in the IP are:

  • The need to create new migration traditions between nesting and wintering grounds. The tradition of migration is a learned behavior and was lost when swans were removed from the region over a century ago.
  • Continuing mortality threats of lead poisoning and power line collisions.
  • The potential conflicts between Trumpeter Swan recovery and Tundra Swan hunting.
  • The impact of climate change on wetland and upland habitats used by Trumpeter Swans throughout the year.

TTSS is committed to addressing these important issues. We can't do it without your memberships, donations, and help.

You can help us track winter migration stops and feeding areas through your participation in our Trumpeter Watch program. Your participation gives TTSS important information that will help swan managers identify and protect new and existing winter habitat.

TTSS has a long history and commitment to addressing lead poisoning in the region. We strongly encourage hunters and anglers to switch to nonlead, nontoxic ammunition and fishing equipment. Help "Get the Lead Out." TTSS is also committed to working with utilities to reduce the number of bird collisions with power lines. Your support makes that possible.