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Neck collars including GPS tracking collars let us know locations of trumpeter swans

Manitoba swan 3H (middle swan) was spotted in Iowa during spring migration and reported through Trumpeter Watch. Photograph by Mike Clapper

Tracking Midwest Swans

Did you know swans can be tracked through collars that record their locations?

More than 100 Midwest trumpeter swans were tracked through these special collars.

They had GPS/GSM tracking collars which record the GPS coordinates where a swan is every 15 minutes. The information is stored in the collar. When the swan goes by a cell phone tower, the information is downloaded for scientists.  The tracking collars have black panels which are solar panels to recharge the batteries.

Biologists and people just like you are able to see where the swans traveled over three years.  A public tracking map through the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Unit was able to track swans in 'real time'.

The swans locations on the website map were updated every few days over the three year period. Each swan had a collar with its own unique code.

Now YOU can see where swans from different states and one province traveled.  Some swans traveled far distances.  Others stayed close to an area through the year.  Click on the photo below to see where all the swans traveled!

States and provinces participating are Arkansas, Iowa, Manitoba, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.


Let's take a look at swan travels by state and by province

Midwest swans were tracked through GPS/GSM tracking collars.  "GPS" means Global Positioning System.

Each collar has black solar panels.  The solar panels collect sunlight which keeps the battery in the collar charged up to record where the swan is every 15 minutes.

When a swan with a GPS/GSM collar passed near a cell phone tower, the collar's information was downloaded for researchers to see. That information was put onto the website and made the swan's movements into points and lines that could be connected.







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