Photograph by Margaret Smith
2019 TTSS News Archive
News Highlights from 2019
My Swan Story by Carlene H.
My husband and I went out to Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge in Cheney, Washington on Saturday February 2nd because it was a warm 40 degrees and in the next few days we were going to be in the deep freeze! As soon as we walked up the trail, we heard the powerful flapping of wings overhead and then looked up and saw a pair of Trumpeter swans flying in and landing near us on Middle Pine Lake. They preened a little bit and then swam around to eat. Parts of the lake were frozen but most of it was not. There were times when the sky was blue and it made you forget it is winter! I stood still for awhile and they got very close. It was nice to see such loveliness in winter.
OREGON: The Trumpeter Swan Society has partnered with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to build a healthy Oregon breeding flock; releasing birds at Summer Lake Wildlife Area, which is a good place for bird watchers to see them. Good news is that trumpeter swans are migrating through Oregon, and February is a good month to spot them among the vast tundra swan flocks moving through the Klamath Basin. Read about their comeback to North America, the challenges they face, and the what is being done to help their return...
ONTARIO: "Fishing in Hamilton Harbour has become extremely popular in recent years. Are anglers leaving behind highly toxic lead that is poisoning wildlife?" Read more...
ONTARIO: Five dead swans were picked up by Hamilton Animal Services between Dec. 10 and Jan. 10, adding to a list of strange avian deaths involving trumpeter swans and juvenile eagles. The development is significant because harbour scientists fear swans, bald eagles, and possibly other large birds are being exposed to lead either from historic harbour contamination, lead shot from hunters, lead sinkers used in fishing or from another source. Read more...
"The provincial minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development made the comment in a press release announcing that the wetlands just north of Duncan are the province’s newest wildlife management area.
“Wildlife management areas help to meet government’s mandate to sustainably manage B.C.’s ecosystems, rivers and lakes, as well as improving wildlife management and habitat conservation,” Donaldson said.
The unique wetland is home to more than 200 species of birds including but most certainly not limited to a massive trumpeter swan population and great blue herons. It’s also home to the rare Garry oak ecosystem and is a significant fish and wildlife habitat as well. Read more...
Adam Janke, Assistant Professor - Natural Resource and Ecology Management at Iowa State University, explains the persistent challenge of mitigating lead poisoning in wildlife. There are several resources with further information at the end of the article.
Central Iowa Swan Soiree
Saturday, January 26, 2019. 10:30 a.m.- 2 p.m.
Family fun programs at Walnut Woods State Park
Swan viewing at Dale Maffitt Reservoir
Meet a swan! Activities for kids and adults! Food! Learn about the return of swans to North America as well as Iowa's special swan story; learn about wetland conservation. Get a sneak peak at the TTSS film "Return of the Trumpeter Swan" documentary film! Go on a guided field trip and learn Nature Photography 101 with hands on photo tips.
Saturday programs will be both indoors and outdoors at the Walnut Woods State Park lodge. Also enjoy outdoor viewing and interpretive presentations about trumpeter swans and bald eagles given by Iowa DNR, Des Moines Parks and Rec, Polk and Dallas County Conservation naturalists.
Spotting scopes and binoculars will be provided.
An estimated 160 trumpeter swans are wintering at the Dale Maffitt Reservoir and surrounding area southwest of Des Moines, providing a rare opportunity to view good numbers of free flying trumpeter swans.
This event is being sponsored by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Polk and Dallas County Conservation Boards, Des Moines Water Works, Des Moines Parks and Recreation, Walnut Woods State Park, and the Trumpeter Swan Society.
For more information or questions contact:
David Hoffman IA DNR- Trumpeter Swan Restoration Coordinator
(641) 425-0737 cell, (641) 357-3517 office
My Swan Story by David W.
I began working for Hennepin County Park Reserve District (HCPRD) in February, 1966. During the 1960's and early 1970's I was involved in the project to re-introduce the Trumpeter Swans to Minnesota. They had been gone from our state for about 100 years.
We transported about 20 adult swans from Red Rock Lakes in the Centennial Valley in Montana. The natural habitat was a large grassy wetland, accessible by air boat. The birds were transported in cages large enough for them to walk around in comfortably. The trip home was successful and uneventful.
We located the birds to an enclosed area on the edge of a small lake in Carver Park. For the next few years I fed the swans seven days a week. During periods of open water they were fed aquatic vegetation. During freeze up they received small grains, alfalfa pellets and loose alfalfa. We kept a small area of open water for the swans.
It was exciting to work with these amazing birds! The fenced refuge area was about 80-100 acres. It proved to be large enough for a few nest areas.
About the third year we had five cygnets hatched in the refuge. Three cygnets survived (see original watercolor painting by Sherm Pehrson). The flock was free flying and that allowed some pairs to nest outside the refuge area.
The project was expanded to include wildlife specialists to better supervise overall management.
The Trumpeter Swan Society was started by HCPRD and has been a vital part of its overall success. I feel fortunate to have been a small part of the restoration project. It's a good feeling to see small flocks of Trumpeter Swans and realize I was part of this. I never tire of hearing their Trumpeting call!
Swans Among Us
Swans are sleeping by the shore,
Plumes folded misty white;
They awaken, just before
Jeweled sun sheds wintry light.
They trumpet brass and gold,
The pale morning rings;
Fog heaves in the cold,
The river snaps and sings.
The swans are wary, black eyes
Keeping watch the silvery day;
With beating wings they rise
Over glittering waters away.
Theirs the green countryside,
Shining lake, russet hill;
The swan scorns to hide
Behind clouds low and chill.
White wings at swanfall,
In scarlet evening the swans return;
They jostle, settle and call,
Soon white stars will burn.
Close among reeds the nest,
And vigils that leave no trace;
Stick-feathered cygnets at the breast
Will remember this place.
~ Cameron La Follette