Archive for December, 2010

Students for Swans: The Iowa State Trumpeter Swan Restoration Committee

December 28, 2010

Trumpeter Swans ... Beamers Pond Poster by Gary D. Tonhouse

The Iowa State University Trumpeter Swan Restoration Committee (TSRC) was started in 1994 by students from different disciplines with the same interest: to assist in restoring one of Iowa’s most beautiful and charismatic birds. Interest in the club not only grew in the number of students, but also expanded to include professionals and local citizens. In 1997, the Trumpeter Swan Restoration Committee was designated a recognized student organization at Iowa State University. Currently, the TSRC is a small group consisting of eight students and our faculty advisor, Dr. Stephen J. Dinsmore. Our passion for swans, however, is not small.
In cooperation with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the initial goal of the TSRC was to establish 40 nesting pairs of Trumpeter Swans in Iowa by 2007. In support of this goal and the project, the TSRC held annual spring banquets to raise money that is provided to the Iowa DNR and their cooperators to help purchase food for captive swan populations, fund habitat restoration efforts, and to assist with other project costs. We continue to support Trumpeter Swan Restoration and continue to raise funds through the annual banquet. The April of 2010 banquet was the most successful ever, raising more than $2,000 for the swans. This fall one our students, Mica Rumbach, volunteered time and mapping expertise to Trumpeter Watch, an extensive Citizen Science project of The Trumpeter Swan Society.
The TSRC also publishes an annual newsletter, Trumpeting the Cause, about Iowa’s swans. This newsletter provides updates about the restoration of Trumpeter Swans in Iowa, includes articles about how to properly identify Trumpeter Swans and Tundra Swans, information about the life history characteristics of Trumpeter Swans, and tips for wildlife watching in Iowa. The newsletter reaches several hundred people including natural resource professionals, Trumpeter Swan project cooperators, and citizens interested in restoring this beautiful bird in Iowa.
The TSRC has also assisted the Iowa DNR with various projects including winter feeding of captive swans, swan “round-ups” (when captive swans are caught and relocated to different areas of the state), and plans this winter to assist with the construction and repair of swan nesting sites at known nesting locations.
Thanks to the cooperation and hard work of many, the restoration of Trumpeter Swans in Iowa has been a huge success. The project has exceeded the goal of restoring 40 nesting pairs of Trumpeter Swans to Iowa, but we are continuing with our restoration efforts. Although we may be a small group, we work hard to make certain that this gorgeous bird remains in Iowa for future generations.

TTSS applauds the work of these dedicated and outstanding students. For additional information contact:
Tyler M. Harms
President, Iowa State Trumpeter Swan Restoration Committee

The Trumpeter Swan Society December 2010 Photograph of the Month

December 10, 2010

Trumpeter Swan close up detail by Maria Macklin

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

Maria’s close up photograph of a wayward swan in the United Kingdom shows the art of cropping used to induce isolation of the bird’s crisply focused bill and the water drops.

Showing only the fore part of the neck as it curves towards the bill lends a sense of balance with the water that makes up the background.  One other highlight of the neck is how is fades in focus under the chin to match the soft focus of the water.

Most wildlife photographs show a finely focused eye, which is usually used to draw the viewer into the photograph.  This view doesn’t even encompass the entire eye, but that actually lets your eye wander to the bill and then the drops of water.

This is such a unique photograph and intelligent use of cropping that it dares viewers to go out and try the technique in the field

Featured Photographer for December, 2010 – Maria Macklin, Rugeley, Staffordshire – UK.

My name is Maria Macklin I live in a small town in the centre of the UK.  I am married with two beautiful girls, I have been interested in wildlife photography for many years.  I just love to be outdoors and I am at my happiest with my camera in hand ready to capture all those special moment’s as they happen.  I work full time nowadays so do not get the time to go out and about as often as I’d like.  So I live for the weekends when I try to get out as often as I can.

This shot of the Trumpeter Swan was taken at my local Nature Reserve which I visit on a regular basis.  Lucky for me, it is only a short walk over the fields.

The Trumpeter Swan is not a native bird to the UK so I feel very privileged to have been able to photograph it at all.  It first appeared at the reserve back in April 2007 and I fell in love with it instantly as he was very photogenic and seemed to enjoy all the attention.

The Swan was last seen at the reserve just after some quite severe flooding in the June of 2007 the nature reserve is on a large main river The River Trent which is 274 kilometres (171 miles) long, beginning at it’s source in North Stafford shire in the centre of the UK and ending at it’s mouth where the Trent joins the Humber Estuary.  Another local photographer had seen the swan not long after the flooding on a nearby canal.  I often wonder where he went to and still look out for him when I go out even now.

We are pleased that Maria  was willing to share this “keeper” shot in support of Trumpeter Swans and The Trumpeter Swan Society. Find more of her images at