News Archive 2009


Hines Marsh, Long Beach Peninsula, WA

Partnerships have been the foundation for conservation of Hines Marsh, on Washington's Long Beach Peninsula. Since the mid-1980s, one of TTSS's priorities has been to ensure the long term protection of two dune restorations that are vital to the restoration and healthy function of Hines Marsh. Our strong partner in Hines Marsh conservation has been, and continues to be Columbia Land Trust (CLT), a leader in the business of long-term land conservation. It is with confidence that TTSS transferred ownership of our long held dune restoration properties to CLT in 2009.

Hines Marsh

By Nadia Gardner, CLT Fall 2009 Newsletter
Sometimes the most important things in life come in the smallest packages. Columbia Land Trust has been working to preserve Hines Marsh in the interior of the northern Long Beach Peninsula in southwest Washington for almost 20 years. This year, we added two small but critical parcels to the Hines Marsh Conservation Area.

Hines Marsh consists of a series of wetlands and lakes among the dunes between the Pacific Ocean and Willapa Bay. The mosaic of ocean front dunes, old Sitka spruce forest, wetlands, and lakes provides unique bird and wildlife habitat, hosting numerous birds, otter, mink, deer, elk, and bear. The marsh is on a major migratory path for waterfowl, shorebirds, and raptors. Wintering and breeding ducks, grebes, great blue heron, osprey and other raptors, and a wide variety of song bird are found throughout the marsh. Due to conservation and restoration efforts, trumpeter swans have recently returned to their historic overwintering lakes within the marsh.

This conservation story is all about partners - The Trumpeter Swan Society, Washington State Parks, US Fish & Wildlife Service, very passionate local community members, and others - without whom the Hines Marsh Conservation Area would not be the beautiful, protected place it is today. The Trumpeter Swan Society started conservation efforts there in the mid-1980s, led by the dedicated Martha Jordan. Columbia Land Trust joined the effort in the mid-1990s. The partners have so far conserved over 150 acres. The latest acquisition was a transfer of two parcels from The Trumpeter Swan Society to Columbia Land Trust. The properties contain dams in a ditch that was used to drain the marsh in the 1960s for development. With our ownership and ongoing community support, we can ensure that they are protected and stewarded properly and that the interior marshes are not damaged again.

We are not done. The northern tip of the Long Beach Peninsula, just south of Leadbetter State Park and all around the Conservation Area, is platted to be completely developed. Columbia Land Trust and our partners continue to work on conserving corridors of the most sensitive and special places before it is too late. This will enable the wildlife to thrive and allow people to enjoy visiting these places for generations to come.


Jess Lee takes amazing wildlife photographs around the world. On his website, you can see images of animals from Africa to Alaska and beyond. On his home turf in Idaho at the edge of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, Jess Lee is a master. Trumpeter Swans are one of his favorite subjects.

Jess is alarmed by the swift and serious decline in Yellowstone's breeding Trumpeter population. He notes that year after year pairs he's photographed over many seasons either have no cygnets or are gone. Vacant territories haunt him in places where he once spent hours quietly waiting to capture the essence of Trumpeters. He sees "the whole thing tanking."

Jess Lee wants to help and we at TTSS are grateful for his concern and generosity. Jess has made one of his finest shots available to TTSS as a LIMITED EDITION PRINT. There will be 300 signed and numbered copies for us to offer to members and fans. All the income from sales, except a small amount for production and shipping, will go to support TTSS' 5-year Greater Yellowstone Trumpeter Swan Initiative.

We urge you to treat yourself to hours of staring at this beautiful image of a Trumpeter against blue ice. Winter is a time of challenge and this photo is testimony to Trumpeter tenacity. This print will make a great holiday gift as well, a wonderful way to give a beautiful gift, while putting your dollars to work to benefit the swans.

Order your Limited Edition 12 x 18 print today in our Swan Gift Shop! The cost is $235.00, which includes shipping and handling. Copies are limited, so don't delay!


On the road some 300 days a year lecturing as an advocate for wildlife, world-renowned conservation leader Dr. Jane Goodall discovers many fascinating stories of endangered species and the people who have labored to save them. In her latest book, Hope for Animals and Their World: How Endangered Species Are Being Rescued from the Brink, Dr. Goodall chronicles many of these fascinating efforts.

In conjunction with the release of her inspiring book, Dr. Goodall has developed a beautiful website that highlights the restoration of rare species. Check out her website to enjoy her personal perspective of Trumpeter Swan restoration and the role of The Trumpeter Swan Society.


(adapted from Trumpetings, July 2009)

After a near-decade hiatus, TTSS is pleased to announce that Trumpeter Swan releases have resumed in Oregon, as part of Oregon's Trumpeter Swan Enhancement Program. We are most grateful to the Felburn Foundation for their generous support of this project. TTSS, in partnership with Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, Malheur NWR, the Wyoming Wetland Society and others, hopes the number of nesting Trumpeters will increase in wetlands east of the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and Washington. The release at Summer Lake Wildlife Area was designed to help swans learn to winter in south-central Oregon. To achieve this goal, four yearling Trumpeter Swans raised by the Wyoming Wetland Society were released by ODFW staff on June 20, 2009, at Rest Lake on Summer Lake WA. Swans were previously released there in the late 1980's and early 1990's. Two family groups were observed there this past winter.

A long history of Trumpeter Swan releases in Oregon began back in the late 1930's, when the Trumpeters from Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in Montana were transported to Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Oregon. While winter waterfowl habitat is limited at Malheur NWR, Summer Lake WA and surrounding areas have better winter habitat for Trumpeters, with open water and adequate aquatic vegetation.


(adapted from Trumpetings, July 2009)

In 2009, Trumpeter Swans in Iowa reached a record high of 33 nest attempts in the wild. The initial goal of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources was to establish 15 nesting pairs of wild Trumpeters. With over 95% of Iowa's original 2� million acres of wetlands drained and converted to cropland, Iowans have cause for celebration. The return of these once extirpated swans to the skies and wetlands of Iowa is very promising. Every nest attempt is exciting in Iowa but one nesting effort this year is particularly noteworthy. A pair of Trumpeter Swans nested and hatched 6 cygnets on a restored wetland on an Iowa State University experimental agronomy farm, "trumpeting" the successful partnership of agricultural interests and wetland conservation, while the farm raised record amounts of corn and beans.


(adapted from Trumpetings, July 2009)

Last year 7 hunters were arrested in Missouri for killing Trumpeter Swans. Five of those cases have been resolved and the other two are still pending. Due to a recommendation from a staff biologist of the Missouri Department of Conservation, each of the five hunters was required to pay $750.00 restitution to TTSS, so that their fines would benefit Trumpeter Swan conservation. In addition, each had hunting privileges suspended for one year. TTSS is not against hunting. Hunters and anglers started the conservation movement in the US before the Civil War and continue to contribute a great deal to natural resource conservation today. However, sportsmen and sportswomen should be experts at identifying the game birds they hunt.


(adapted from Trumpetings, July 2009)

Work with Trumpeter Swans inspired pilots Terry and Mary Kohler who recently received awards at a gala event at the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, WI. The Lindbergh Foundation recognized them saying "Terry and Mary Kohler's use of their aircraft to reintroduce swan and crane eggs in the United States is an excellent example of the Lindbergh Foundation's concept of balancing technology and nature". In 1989, The Kohlers responded to a request from the State of Alaska to help with a project involving the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the USFWS. The Kohlers provided essential aircraft to bring Trumpeter Swan eggs collected from wild nests in Alaska to incubation and rearing facilities in Wisconsin. From a start with Trumpeters, the Kohlers went on to help with Whooping Cranes, Siberian Cranes, Humbolt Penguins, Piping Plovers and other species. Thanks Terry and Mary for your wonderful work!


During an aerial survey of swan nests in eastern Idaho on May 29, TTSS observer Ruth Shea discovered a tragic scene on Hossner Pond, 1 mile west of Ashton, Idaho. Three eggs lay abandoned in the exposed nest cup, while the body of an adult swan lay sprawled in the water near the nest. Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) officers later retrieved the dead swan and collected forensic evidence. Although the killing apparently occurred earlier in May while the female was still laying eggs, evidence was sufficient to prove it had been shot.

Nesting Trumpeter Swans have been declining in Idaho in recent years. In 2008, Idaho had only 15 nesting pairs and only five cygnets fledged in the entire state. TTSS is leading efforts to increase nesting pairs in Idaho and rebuild a secure population. We will be working with local residents of eastern Idaho and IDFG to solve this crime. Although our funds are very limited and usually spent to improve nesting pairs, we are offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the miserable wretch that destroyed this nesting pair.

Help us arrest and convict the person responsible and make it abundantly clear that this abhorrent action will not be tolerated. Tips should be called into the IDFG Citizens Against Poaching (CAP) hotline (1-800-632-5999). Please also help us increase the ASHTON, IDAHO, SWAN SHOOTING REWARD FUND. You can donate online or send a check to our office and direct that it be used for the Ashton, Idaho reward. Any donated funds are tax deductible and will be paid out through the CAP system for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the criminal. We will keep donors informed of developments. If the crime remains unsolved, your contributions will be used to benefit nesting swans in Idaho.


The Trumpeter Swans that nest in the Greater Yellowstone region of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming in and surrounding Yellowstone National Park were the only group that survived in the U.S. south of Canada by 1930 as Trumpeters neared extinction. These Greater Yellowstone swans are one of the best-known icons of North American wildlife conservation and treasured by thousands who read E. B. White's "Trumpet of the Swan" in their school days. Today they are still the only viable nesting group in the western U.S. excluding Alaska. During the past 20 years their nesting effort and adult numbers have declined and these swans face several serious threats. To help solve those problems, TTSS is launching a 5-yr Greater Yellowstone Trumpeter Swan Initiative (GYTSI) to increase nesting success and adult numbers and help achieve the federal and state objectives for these vulnerable swans. GYTSI will provide a means to merge TTSS swan expertise and public energy and resources with agency efforts to make this population secure.


Read a recent article detailing the history of Trumpeter Swan restoration in Ontario and the people who have made it happen! The article contains a great account of the program, but please realize the close-up photos are primarily of Mute Swans (orange knobbed bill), not Trumpeter Swans. Both species occur in that area. Check our Swan Identification page to learn about the differences.


In its draft management plan for this refuge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service erroneously revised the refuge's establishment history to leave out all mention of Trumpeter Swans! RRLNWR was established in 1935 to help save the last nesting Trumpeter Swans in the United States. The draft plan is completely inadequate with regard to Trumpeter Swan management actions and fails to recognize the importance of Refuge cygnet production to the security of the Greater Yellowstone nesting population. See TTSS' extensive comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in which we summarize the deficiencies and make recommendations. The draft plan/EA is available at this FWS site. TTSS will provide a thorough update when the final plan, which will guide the management of the Refuge for the next 15 years, is released.


The Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, The National Park Service, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and The Trumpeter Swan Society (TTSS) have all teamed up in an effort to expand where restored Midwest Trumpeter Swans winter. One of TTSS' goals has been to encourage southward migration of Trumpeter Swans under the approval of the Mississippi Flyway. The Trumpeter Swan has been successfully established as a breeding species in the Midwest, but limited winter migration has been a major concern. The Iowa DNR recently captured 9-month old free-flying trumpeters from ponds of private Iowa swan propagators who have been partnering with the Iowa DNR to restore the species to Iowa since 1995. The hope is that the young swans will imprint on the Arkansas locations so that they will establish a migratory tradition. The National Park Service's Buffalo River and the Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge are the sites of releases of the Iowa swans January 23rd & 24th. To read more about the experiment, visit the Illinois' Outdoors News in Prairie State Outdoors. Swans are banded with green collars with white codes (1P0 - 0P0) and the public is asked to keep an eye out for the swans. Trumpeter Swans typically begin moving north to breeding marshes by early March. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is looking for reports of these banded swans. Please click here to go directly to their Trumpeter Swan Survey web page.

February 17, 2009: release of more swans in Arkansas to encourage migration - Fifteen more Trumpeter Swans from Iowa were released the week of February 16th at Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge and Boxley Valley Mill Pond in Newton County, Arkansas. The hope is that these swans will fly north in the spring and develop a wintering tradition in Arkansas. Please report any banded swans that you observe.


TTSS' most recent Conference and our 40th Anniversary celebration were held in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, April 17-19, 2008. The Conference focused on the history of TTSS and Trumpeter Swan conservation, especially in western Canada and Alaska. There were papers ranging from lead poisoning of trumpeters in the Pacific Northwest and the California Condor in California, challenges with wintering swan flocks in Comox Valley, British Columbia, to nesting surveys in Alaska, and nesting studies and migration experiments in the Midwest. Click here to view a complete list of presentations and speakers.

The conference took place during the Yukon Territory's Annual Celebration of Swans. Attendees came from as far away as Ontario, Iowa, Massachusetts, and Maryland. Although spring arrived later in the North this year, Conference participants enjoyed viewing Trumpeter Swans and other waterfowl on the Yukon River and at M'Clintock Bay. Many thanks to the First Nation guides who gave fascinating talks on the history of the land and wildlife.

A Proceedings will be published, although the format is still to be determined. Watch here for a notice of availability.

TRUMPETER SWANS ARE dying in Washington State and British Columbia

Over the past 10 winters, an average of 300 swans annually have died in this region from lead poisoning. Learn more about this very serious crisis with the lead poisoning information sheet about the most recent winter swan mortality in northwestern Washington and southwestern British Columbia. This is a progress report prepared by Environment Canada's Canadian Wildlife Service, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Trumpeter Swan Society, the University of Washington, and other organizations that have been working hard to locate the sources of lead shot and to stop the death of the swans. Click here to read the entire 2008-2009 Progress Report.


Mystery of the Toxic Swans, a documentary film about the lead poisoning deaths of more than 2,000 Trumpeter Swans in Northwest Washington and Sumas Prairie, British Columbia, is now completed. This is a high quality production that explores the facts and follows the research to find the source of lead shot that has killed so many swans. It was aired on Canadian Television (CTV) on Saturday, January 24. We hope it will soon be aired in the U.S. and will post an alert when we hear of a date. This is a very dynamic documentary that was filmed in a variety of locations from our Conference in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, to Washington State and several other locations around North America. TTSS helped in various phases of the production.


We are pleased to announce that TTSS is now listed as one of the conservation organizations to which member artists of AFC may make pledges of financial support. AFC's mission is to support wildlife and habitat conservation through art that celebrates our natural heritage. Click here to learn more about AFC's programs and view available art work. You will be very impressed by the many artists and their great variety of wildlife subjects.


Thanks to the generosity of the family of the late Amos D. Faux-Burhans III of Frederick, Maryland, TTSS has been making copies of the award winning video Trumpeter Blues available free to school libraries. Produced by Trailwood Films and TTSS member Bob Landis in 1987, the film follows a year in the life of a family of Trumpeter Swans in the Yellowstone Park Region. Teachers or librarians should contact the TTSS office to see about availability.


Seven swans have been shot since November in the Skagit and Island counties area of Washington State. Six of the incidents involved hunters, one was an outright poaching by two men with a rifle who stopped their silver truck on the side of the road, hopped out, shot the swan and retrieved it, then drove off. While all the incidents were witnessed, only three of the cases have been resolved.

The Trumpeter Swan Society is offering at $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the persons who committed these crimes. TTSS has issued a news release to the local media. Learn more about this issue by visiting the news site: KING TV.