Photograph by Margaret Smith
Above: Lead poisoned adult swan at the far right at the snow bank. Note its drooping wings and isolation, compared to healthy swans on left. Here's "The rest of the story." Within a minute of the photo being taken, the sick swan was unable to hold its head up. Its head fell face first into the snowbank. It struggled to lift its head out of the snow, then curled its head and neck onto its body. It died later that day.
Thanks to your support, we continue our decades long work on swan health issues.
Two major sources of swan deaths are powerline collisions, and lead poisoning through ingestion of lead ammunition and lead fishing tackle.
We work with utility companies to safeguard swan flights over power and transmission lines, by advocating "marking" the lines with diverters. Diverters help birds see powerlines sooner and avoid collisions. We also advocate to keep transmission lines from crossing important bird migratory corridors. If you need assistance working with your local utility company to mark powerlines where swan deaths occur, please contact us.
For decades we have been working on swan mortality issues in the Pacific northwest, notably Washington and British Columbia. In the winter of 2017-18, nearly two thirds of swan deaths in an eight-county northwest region are suspected to be from lead poisoning and powerline collisions.
One particular swan health project is Judson Lake which straddles the border of Washington and British Columbia. It is an important wintering site for many Pacific Coast Population swans. Judson Lake has a known lead "hot zone" that has been responsible for hundreds of swan deaths.
We have worked for many years with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, University of Washington, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Canadian Wildlife Service to reduce swan deaths there through an exclusion zone in the lake combined with other methods; analyze and diagnose the suspected causes of swan deaths in the region; and educate the public about switching to non lead ammunition.
We work across North America on swan health issues, especially lead poisoning and powerline collisions. Our efforts include public education, presentations, working with partners to raise awareness about swan and waterfowl health issues, and much more.
Learn more about lead poisoning. Be informed. Spread the word to keep wildlife safe.
This article, written by Margaret Smith, TTSS Executive Director, was written for a sporting magazine. It explains symptoms you may see is a lead-poisoned swan.
Management Strategies Lead Toxicity: A Threat to Wildlife.
Making a Difference in the Fight Against Lead Poisoning in Iowa's Wildlife
Technical resources to help hunters make the switch to non-lead ammunition can be found at HuntingWithNon-lead.org
Technical resources to help hunters make the switch to non-lead ammunition
You can help!
If you or someone you know hunts or fish, please switch to non lead products.
Do you fish or know someone who does? Get your FREE list of online nontoxic fishing tackle suppliers.
Just complete the form below and download the list so you can keep wildlife safe TODAY.