Archive for March, 2010

Trumpeter Swans & Power Lines

March 25, 2010

Power lines pose potential hazards to Trumpeter Swans. These hazards can be significantly reduced through use of bird diverters, devices attached to power lines to make them more visible. There are several varieties of diverters on the market and in recent years they have been improved to withstand higher wind levels.

Skagit County, Washington is home to the largest wintering concentration of Trumpeter Swans in the United States. Here Puget Sound Energy has an active Aviation Protection Program through which they respond to an average of 200-250 bird-related incidents a year. In recent months, they have helped pay expenses for swans needing rehabilitation after injuries from power line collisions, and have installed additional diverters in areas in problem areas. Two successful releases of injured birds in recent months have been featured in the media, bringing attention to the problem of power line collisions for large birds.

In Minnesota, Xcel Energy of Minneapolis plans to install nearly 3400 swan flight diverters over the next four – five years in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The diverters are highly visible yellow plastic spirals. Xcel Energy uses a helicopter to aid installation. Nine different transmission lines will receive the diverters which have proven effective in reducing bird collisions. Wetland areas, migration patterns and known nesting areas were considered when choosing top priority lines.

Efforts are underway to keep a portion of Greater Yellowstone’s wintering Trumpeter Swans out of harm’s way. The Teton Regional Land Trust (TRLT) is working with the Fall River Rural Electric Cooperative (FRREC) on the west side of Yellowstone are at work to add or replace at least 120 bird diverters on power lines in areas frequented by Trumpeter Swans. This program began in 2004 and this year priority sites in Swan Valley are the Teton River, Rainey Creek, and the Teton Slough area adjacent to the Henry’s Fork River south of Rexburg.

Power lines are a significant cause of mortality for Trumpeter Swans, heavy-bodied birds that need plenty of room for takeoff and landing. Wintering, migrating, and nesting birds can be at risk. Use of power line bird diverters is an idea that The Trumpeter Swan Society hopes will spread! Consider contacting your local power company and encourage them to help protect the swans, waterfowl and raptors of your region.

Trumpeter Swan photo by Joy Colbert, a Trumpeter Watch Observer, 2010

Trumpeter Swan photo by Joy Colbert, a Trumpeter Watch Observer, 2010

Trumpeter Swan Photo-of-the-Month, MARCH 2010

March 11, 2010
Trumpeter Swan Taking Flight by Gail Miller

Featured Photographer for March, 2010 – Gail Miller, Arkansas

This month’s featured photographer, Gail Miller, lives in Conway, Arkansas. She’s had the pleasure of watching wintering Trumpeter Swan populations grow to over 100 individuals at Magness Lake this winter. Gail has two galleries on her PBase site devoted to Trumpeters and admires them as gorgeous creatures.

Professional Photographer and TTSS Photo-of-the-Month host Greg Smith says:

Gail’s Trumpeter Swan photo was cropped to take your focus to the narrow plain of the flight takeoff. The tack sharp water splash was placed in the left half of the photo. And although the swan was placed in the right half of the photo, her unique setting draws your eye first to the water splash and then to the swan.

Whether planned or not, Gail’s use of the reflected light off of the water to show highlights of the swan’s underwing adds a dimension to the photograph not usually seen. This underwing shimmer complements the sharply focused face and the outstretched wings to create an outstanding capture of a Trumpeter Swan taking flight!

When asked about her photography Gail shared this:
“I was always enchanted with being outdoors. Even as a child, I was outdoors as much as possible. I began taking photos in college in 1972 and launched into the digital world in 2005 when I bought a Canon EOS 40D camera. Though I had always taken photos of birds, I became more obsessed with it after the acquisition of a Canon 300mm F/2.8L and then the Canon 500mm F/4 lens. Photographing birds allows me to share with others, the beauty of the avian world as I see it though my camera lens. I do not know or a more rewarding hobby.”

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