Photograph by Margaret Smith
2019 TTSS News Archive
News Highlights from 2019
The New York Times shares the successes of trumpeter swan restoration, the dedication of people who made it happen, and continuing regional issues trumpeter swans still face, in this fascinating article written by Karen Weintraub. From sea to shining sea, trumpeter swans are making a comeback. Read more...
My Swan Story by Carlene H.
TURNBULL NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, WASHINGTON
When was the last time you saw a dirty swan?
On March 22nd at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge I was thrilled to watch this Trumpeter swan diving underwater and then doing barrel rolls at the surface of the water. Swans are so buoyant I am amazed that most of their body can be underwater!
When it popped up out of the water it repeatedly slapped its wings on the water for lots of splashes. I couldn’t help but think that not only was it getting a good bath but it was having fun doing it!
My Swan Story by Carlene H.
TURNBULL NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, WASHINGTON
After it warmed up from a cold, icy winter, I decided to go out to Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge to see if migration was happening. To my delight, I counted 15 swans coming through that day. There was a family of 6 Trumpeters that were bathing in the water and then taking turns coming up on a small patch of ice to finish preening.
I captured this image of an adult swan looking right at my camera, which I thought was humorous! At the same time its cygnet was stretching its mottled tan and white wings. Soon the cygnet will be pure white! What a special time to watch all the swan activity that day!
Minnesota: "Dead trumpeter swans found at Sucker Lake in Vadnais Heights earlier this month died of lead poisoning, according to a University of Minnesota diagnostic lab report...About 10 dead swans were found at Sucker Channel, six at Peltier Dam in Lino Lakes, five at Pickerel Lake in Lilydale, four at Grass Lake in Stearns County, and at least two were found in Little Pine Lake in Ottertail County...at least 50 trumpeter swans swimming on the lake and in the channel in March. Lead poisoning has been an ongoing issue for conservationists in the state." Read more...
Minnesota: The Department of Natural Resources announced on April 1 that a $500 reward is now being offered for information that leads to an arrest in a poaching case that took place in Douglas County last week...The DNR got reports of a doe and a yearling whitetail being shined and shot late in the evening on March 25. A trumpeter swan was shot on the water near the same location the next morning. There was no attempt to retrieve any of the animals. Read more...
HOT SPRINGS VILLAGE, ARKANSAS: Hot Spring "Village bird watchers have had a rare treat the last week or so. HSV Audubon received a call on Feb. 17 that a swan had been sighted on Lake Sophia.A picture of the bird confirmed that it was a Trumpeter Swan. Even though it didn’t stay long, a Trumpeter was reported the next day at nearby Lake Maria. Read more..."
IDAHO: Deer Park Wildlife Mitigation Unit. "An estimated one-fourth of the Rocky Mountain trumpeter swan population is wintering at a nearby wildlife area near Menan Buttes and it’s drawing looks from local bird-watchers. An estimated 3,000 swans as well as hundreds of ducks and geese have gathered at the Deer Park Wildlife Mitigation Unit just west of the buttes." Read more...
ONTARIO: Listen to the 20 minute broadcast of the story of the return of trumpeter swans to Ontario. Or, read the article and watch the slide show...
Researchers with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at three southeast Idaho National Wildlife Refuges are trying to determine why the native bird’s young have been having trouble surviving in recent years. Read more...
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