Archive for March, 2009

Behind-the-Scenes: Executive Director, John Cornely

March 15, 2009
Trumpeter Swan Society Exec. Director, John Cornely

Trumpeter Swan Society Exec. Director, John Cornely

The past few weeks have been busy for John Cornely, our executive director. On behalf of TTSS, he has attended the Atlantic Pacific Flyway Technical Section meetings and will attend parts of all four Flyway Council Meetings and the National Flyway Council next week. These meetings run in conjunction with the Annual North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference. They provide excellent opportunities for TTSS to network with management officials and to share our science-based expertise. John recently retired from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with 34 years of federal service. Twenty-eight of these years gave him direct experience with wetland and migratory bird management and administration.

Spectacular Malheur National Wildlife Refuge  in eastern Oregon was John’s assignment for several years and the place in which he got to know Trumpeters, starting in 1978. John was Refuge Biologist there and has been involved with Trumpeter Swan ecology and management ever since. From his career, and through his wide network of professional connections, John brings TTSS a continent-wide perspective and a deep knowledge of programs, places and issues. He plays a key role in helping us develop partnerships with diverse groups, such as Partners in Flight, Ducks Unlimited and numerous state, provincial and tribal agencies.

John has published more than 40 journal and symposia articles and serves as reviewer for several scientific publications. A personal project he enjoys is an effort to record oral histories of influential people in the history of waterfowl management. He enjoys conducting interviews and comparing notes with lifelong biologists responsible for the content and tone of the North American Waterfowl Plan, of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with emphasis on the Migratory Bird Program and National Wildlife Refuges.

John served on Board of Directors for TTSS prior to taking the helm as Executive Director. He currently also serves on the 14-member board of the National Wildlife Refuge Association in addition to work with TTSS.

Behind-the-Scenes: Flyway Council Management / Meetings

March 8, 2009
Trumpeter Swan, Madison River, Yellowstone  photo by Mark Wetzel

Trumpeter Swan, Madison River, Yellowstone photo by Mark Wetzel

Countless hours are spent behind the scenes to assure the future of Trumpeter Swans and TTSS is a dynamic part of this process. Because Trumpeters are migratory birds that cross International boundaries, ultimate responsibility for their conservation falls to the Federal Governments of the U.S. and Canada. This responsibility has been delegated to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Canadian Wildlife Service. These agencies in turn depend on states, provinces, and territories for assistance in managing migratory birds. Since 1948, Flyway Councils have been set up as administrative units for each of the four major migratory routes for birds in North America: Atlantic, Mississippi, Central and Pacific.
(See a map of flyways at:

Flyway Council members (1 representative for each state, province or territory involved) and biologists assigned to Technical Committees gather at a series of meetings each year to coordinate management, review data from monitoring programs and make recommendations to the federal agencies on a variety of issues. Much of the purpose is to regulate and set waterfowl hunting seasons. Each of the four flyways has a specific committee that deals with swan issues for Tundra, Trumpeter and Mute Swans.

TTSS Executive Director John Cornely, Board Members, and some of our regular members attend official Flyway Council meetings each year to advocate for Trumpeter Swans and to encourage support for the agencies that manage them. The Atlantic and Mississippi Flyway Technical Sections met in late February; Central and Pacific Flyway meetings are scheduled this year in the first half of March.

The United States has International Treaties with Canada, Mexico, Japan and Russia that govern conservation of shared migratory bird resources. In subsequent TTSS Blog postings we will detail behind-the-scenes work of dedicated biologists and managers working on Trumpeter Swans. We’ll describe the framework in which they work. Largely through their efforts we, our children and grandchildren can continue to enjoy the amazing spectacle of migratory birds.