News Archive 2010


The 22nd Biennial Conference of The Trumpeter Swan Society (TTSS) will be held at the Polson, Montana, United States, on October 11-14, 2011. The biennial conferences of TTSS provide the only public forum in North America that brings together private citizens and conservation groups, policy makers, swan managers, and researchers to examine the status and needs of Trumpeter Swans in the U.S. and Canada and to work together to make all populations secure.

The 22nd Conference will focus on both the successes and challenges involved with long-term management of trumpeter swans. Special attention will also be given to be the status, management, and conservation of Trumpeter Swans in the Pacific Flyway. Presentations will examine the restoration accomplishments and lessons learned and discuss the future challenges to Trumpeter Swan conservation. In addition, the Conference will include sessions on the biology, habitat concerns, and management of Trumpeter Swan populations throughout North America. Papers and posters on the biology and management of Tundra Swans and Mute Swans or their interactions with Trumpeter Swans are also invited.

We strongly encourage private partners, agency managers, and biologists involved in Trumpeter Swan restoration, management, and research to participate. If you are interested in making a presentation at the 21st Conference, please contact John Cornely at (303-933-9861), Dale Becker (, or Ruth Shea ( for additional information, including presentation guidelines and submission dates.


Harvey Nelson, a leader of North American wetland and waterfowl conservation and Board Member of TTSS since 1992, died unexpectedly of heart failure on February 20, 2010 at the age of 85. Harvey remained extremely active in conservation efforts to the very end and will be deeply missed. Harvey was a very accomplished leader, wonderful friend, and worked tirelessly to conserve our natural resources. His many tributes are so very well deserved. He was an inspiration to us all.

Read the article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune


TTSS Board Member Ron Andrews led a parade of Trumpeter fans to the release site on Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge on Friday, February 10th. This was the third year of scheduled releases in Arkansas that are part of an innovative reverse migration experiment. The released cygnets came from the highly successful Iowa Department of Natural Resources' Trumpeter Swan Restoration Program, coordinated by Andrews. Karen Rowe of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission was on hand to help, along with 16 lucky citizens entrusted to handle and release the birds. The release has brought a lot of positive press for Trumpeter Swans.

Click on the following links to learn more about this historic day.


TTSS's Washington Working Group leader Martha Jordan is adept at saving swans, and has enthusiastic volunteers to lend a helping hand. She rates this particular rescue as one of the most challenging they've ever made.
Click here to read more about the February 2010 rescue.


The Spokesman-Review, January 26, 2010

As he has for possibly more than four decades, the trumpeter swan nicknamed Solo returned Monday to the year�s first big patch of ice-free water at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge.

This time, however, he didn�t return alone. Solo was joined by the mate he found last year and three of the four cygnets they produced at the refuge last spring.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staffers do not know where Solo winters, but each year he returns to the refuge within a day or two after one of the ponds near the headquarters thaws just enough for a 30-pound trumpeter with an 8-foot wingspan to land and take off.

Solo�s return ends speculation that the iconic old bird of Turnbull might have been the trumpeter shot on Dec. 28 on the Colville River.

Click here to read the full story   |   Click here to view photographs.


Reporting Marked or Banded Trumpeter Swans

We are receiving very interesting reports of Trumpeter Swans with neck collars and wing tags this winter as part of our Citizen Science effort, Trumpeter Watch. Reports of all Trumpeter Swans in states near or south of the 40th parallel will help us better understand the winter distribution of expanding High Plains and Midwest nesting flocks. The program will run through May 1 each year. We will then tally all data gathered and make it available to wildlife managers throughout the pertinent flyways and on our website.

Reports of marked or banded birds are particularly valuable as we can trace the origin of that bird by coordinating with the biologists who marked and banded them. Often swans are seen at a distance, but that extra effort to read numbers on the collar or wing tag can be of great value. Here are some tips on how to read and report marked and banded birds properly.

All banded and marked birds should be reported to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)'s Bird Banding Lab (BBL). The BBL must authorize the banding and marking of any migratory bird in the U.S. If the silver leg band can be read, then no other marker description is needed. If there is no silver leg band or it cannot be read (often this is the case), then careful notes on other markers (with a backup photo if possible) are important. The BBL has an easy online form for you to report a marked bird.

Describe the type of marker. Collars and wing tags are both commonly used in the United States and Canada.

State the Color. Red, green or yellow collars are most often used for Trumpeter Swans, while gray, black or blue collars are most often used for Tundra Swans. For Trumpeters, color often gives indication of the state or geographic area of breeding. For Tundras, gray is used for wintering Atlantic Flyway birds. Black indicates birds marked on migration routes, and blue indicates birds marked in Arctic breeding areas.

Record the unique Letter (L) / Number (N) combination. Most Trumpeters have three characters with one letter (LNN, NLN, NNL) (N=Number, L=Letter). Tundras have 4 character combinations with the letter first (LNNN) - or 3 character combinations with two letters (LLN, LNL, NLL). There may be a few Trumpeters remaining from the old banding protocol that have yellow or black collars with 4 character combinations of LLNN. Mute swans have white collars only, with 4 characters LLNN.

Note the COLOR of the letter/number characters. Black or white

In addition carefully describe the date, location, number of cygnets (gray coloration) and adults (white) (if possible), and other marked or unmarked swans in the group. Notes on behavior are appreciated as well. Be sure to note your name and contact data. An observation form is available on our website in the TRUMPETER WATCH section.

If you send a copy of your sightings report to us at The Trumpeter Swan Society, we usually can get information to the biologist most familiar with that group of swans quickly. The bander typically will report back to the observer as well as to TTSS directly, as time permits.

Keeping in mind that lists like this are obsolete almost as soon as they are printed, click here for a few tips on the marked Trumpeter's possible origin, or place of marking.