Archive for April, 2010

The Trumpeter Swan Society Board Approves New Strategic Plan

April 19, 2010
Trumpeter Swan Portrait by Beverly Kingdon

 The Trumpeter Swan Society (TTSS) has completed revision of its Strategic Plan, which was first adopted in 2003. The TTSS Board of Directors reviewed all current programs as well as new opportunities and problems facing the various Trumpeter Swan populations. At their December 2009 meeting, they adopted the revised Strategic Plan to guide the Society’s programs for 2010-2014.  This Plan will provide the foundation for developing annual work priorities, strengthening administrative processes, and identifying budget and fundraising needs for the next 5 years.

The Plan reflects our Board’s strong beliefs that the restoration, conservation and security of Trumpeter Swans in North America are very important for the intrinsic value of the species, for its role in natural systems, and for the inspiration and beauty that the swans bring to human existence.  TTSS also values Trumpeter Swans as a symbol of hope for the restoration of imperiled species and as a high-profile ambassador for the conservation of North American wetlands.

 The Strategic Plan emphasizes that “The Society’s paramount task is to assure that wild populations of Trumpeter Swans attain numbers and distributions that will keep them strong and resilient as habitats are increasingly modified by the impacts of human population growth”.  Rebuilding secure migrations and winter distributions is a major emphasis for all populations.

 The plan focuses on the following FIVE-YEAR OPERATING GOALS

*   Population Security/Range Expansion:

*    Habitat Conservation and Management:

*    Advocacy and Agency Coordination

*    Public Education and Involvement:

*    Research

*    Organizational Development

Visit our website www.trumpeterswansociety.org to read the details of our Strategic Plan. Specific objectives and tasks are identified for each goal and also for specific swan populations.  With your support, we look forward to achieving these goals and making Trumpeter Swans more secure. 

Collared Trumpeter Swan Reports Reveal Stories

April 5, 2010

Iowa Trumpeter Swans

April is an important month to note observations of Trumpeter Swans as they return to nesting locations. We ask, through our Trumpeter Watch program that you report sightings of Trumpeter Swans.

It’s been an exciting first winter for our Trumpeter Watch program. Recently Dave Hoffman, a biologist with Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources announced that “spring had arrived,” evidenced by the return of one of the Iowa restoration program’s oldest swans to Sakatah Lake State Park, south of the Twin Cities in Minnesota. Thanks to observers, we have 16 years of data on this bird and his travels! Green-collared male F02 was donated to Iowa in 1994 at 4 days of age from NW Trek Wildlife Park in Washington State, via TTSS members Martha Jordan and Del Huebner. He was released at Kettleson Hogsback Waterfowl Management Area in July 1995. Since 1998, he has been raising cygnets though his nest location is still a mystery. We assume it may be in Le Sueur County, Minnesota.

F02 spent the latter part of the winter of 1996 in Kansas, and then ventured over to Missouri and on up to South Dakota that March. By fall, he was sighted in Minnesota at several locations, including Sakatah Lake State Park. From observations, we know that he wintered near Kansas City, Missouri, and nested in Minnesota the next 4 years, then changed his pattern to winter in Iowa. In 2003, he lingered in Minnesota until December before returning to the same private pond in Iowa. In 2004, he was in both Iowa and Kansas, and by 2005, he returned to his pattern of spending the winter in Kansas. In 2008 and 2009, he used both Kansas and Iowa wintering sites, but returned north by late February to claim his nest site. It was great to find out last month that he returned March 7, 2010, to Sakatah Lake State Park.

Dave Hoffman estimates that F02 has fathered over 40 cygnets in the wild. As his young are now breeding, F02’s genes are represented in over 100 wild cygnets.

Iowa female red-collared P90 is another example of a wide-ranging traveler we’d like to keep track of. This bird was released on a private pond in Iowa in 2003. In March 2004, she was spotted in Kansas, and then in the fall of that year was spotted far to the north in Manitoba. She headed south that winter, stopping in Iowa and then continuing on to Perry Lake, Kansas, in January 2005. Her mate was shot and killed in 2006. She has three large pellet holes in her webbing and a large pellet dent in her leg band, so she has taken a few pellets as well. Since then, sightings have all been in Iowa where she found a new mate. In 2008 and 2009, she was reported nesting near Clear Lake in Cerro Gordo County, Iowa, and has hatched nine cygnets total so far.

The map featured in this Blog post shows how far and wide Iowa birds are ranging. Iowa birds are just one part of the larger story of the Interior Population restoration success. We need diligent observers to help us track Trumpeters on the move. Find out more about Trumpeter Watch and join us in tracking Trumpeters today!