Archive for January, 2011

Yukon’s CELEBRATION of SWANS: Call for Poster Artwork (deadline Feb. 11, 2011)

January 30, 2011

Yukon’s CELEBRATION of SWANS: Call for Poster Artwork (Deadline Feb. 11, 2011)

This year, Yukon’s premiere bird festival will take place April 16-24, 2011. Last year broke all records as nearly 2500 Trumpeter Swans arrived at Marsh Lake and M’Clintock Bay in time for April’s Celebration of Swans. Each year, the festival brings residents and visitors alike out to great swan viewing areas. Yukon’s Trumpeters spend the winter in British Columbia and return north as the lakes thaw. Many of the events take place at the impressive Swan Haven Interpretation Centre 30 minutes south of Whitehorse (867-667-8291).  Keep current on plans for this year’s festival at Environment Yukon’s: Celebration of Swans website.

2011 Celebration of Swans Poster Contest:

A Note from Carrie McClelland, one of the Celebration coordinators

Hello artists!   It’s time once again to search for a great image for the 2011 Celebration of Swans poster. Every year we print hundreds of these posters and they go up in homes and businesses all over the territory (and some around the world!).  They have become a collectible item and Yukon Gallery estimates about 2 dozen come in each year to get framed!

If you have any swan- or spring-related art you would like to submit to this year’s contest, I would love to see it.  The deadline is February 11th – FIRM – and all mediums of art are accepted.  Just take a high quality picture of your piece and send it to me and I will print it out for our judges to see. 

View previous posters HERE. 

Carrie can be reached at

Submit your art to:


Mail: Wildlife Viewing (V-5N)

Box 2703, Whitehorse, YT


Announcing: The 22nd Trumpeter Swan Society Conference, Call for Papers

January 22, 2011

Dale Becker, Tribal Wildlife Program Manager, and Janene Lichtenberg, Tribal Wildlife Biologist, release Trumpeters as part of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes' restoration program

The 22nd Trumpeter Swan Society Conference (TTSS) will be held at the Polson, Montana, United States, on October 11-13, 2011. The biennial conferences of TTSS provide the only public forum in North America that brings together private citizens and conservation groups, policy makers, swan managers, and researchers to examine the status and needs of Trumpeter Swans in the U.S. and Canada and to work together to make all populations secure.

The 22nd Conference will focus on both the successes and challenges involved with long-term management of trumpeter swans.  Special attention will also be given to be the status, management, and conservation of Trumpeter Swans in the Pacific Flyway.  Presentations will examine the restoration accomplishments and lessons learned and discuss the future challenges to Trumpeter Swan conservation.  In addition, the Conference will include sessions on the biology, habitat concerns, and management of Trumpeter Swan populations throughout North America. Papers and posters on the biology and management of Tundra Swans and Mute Swans or their interactions with Trumpeter Swans are also invited.

We strongly encourage private partners, agency managers, and biologists involved in Trumpeter Swan restoration, management, and research to participate.  If you are interested in making a presentation at the 21st Conference, please contact John Cornely at (303-933-9861), Dale Becker (, or Ruth Shea ( for additional information, including presentation guidelines and submission dates.

The Trumpeter Swan Society January 2011 Photograph of the Month

January 10, 2011

Trumpeter Swan Reflection Detail by Peter Sulzle

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

Peter’s attention to detail, from keeping the bird level during the capture to the post processing enhancement, only improved an already stunning photograph showing the subtle curves of the bird’s neck and the contrast between the bird and the dark background. 

 One way to bring the viewer’s eye to your goal is to create a subtle bokeh for the background or you can remove all color and contrast leaving a “blank” background.  Either technique puts the photographer’s subject in the foreground without any distractions.

As Peter stated, he underexposed the photograph which isolated the swan from everything else in the photograph.  Without any background, focus becomes an increasingly important aspect of the photograph.  Every feather is crisp in detail and allows the viewer’s eye to wander over the highlights picking out every feature.

The compact pose of the swan and the stunning reflection challenges the viewer to find discrepancies in the reflection.  You won’t find them, as Peter’s use of a tripod and super fast lens allowed him to capture the image at his discretion.  His composition of the photograph, the detailed reflection and the contrast between the swan and the background are all pieces of an outstanding photograph.  

 Featured Photographer for January, 2011 –  Peter  Sulzle, Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada

I am Peter Sulzle and I have been interested in photography since I got my first 35mm camera in my late teens.  In the early 90’s I met Duane Rosenkranz, a photographer whose photographs and passion for the outdoors left me with a desire to create photographs like his.

In 1995, I started getting images used in local conservation and naturalist publications such as Blue Jay, Alberta Naturalist and Alberta Game Warden.  It was a thrill to see my images in print. 

I am not professionally trained in photography, but rather have learned through trial and error and am able to share everything that has worked for me while in the field.  I am formally educated in web design, customer service and entrepreneurship.  These days I live in Kamloops, B.C. and am still learning on my own as camera gear, computers and computer software continue to evolve.   I write a monthly photography column for SPIN news magazine in Sun Peaks,

B.C.  I also contribute gear reviews when I can and continue my quest to market my photographs.  To fill my need to support local and national organizations, I offer images to Bear Aware Program, the Grassland Conservation Council and the Nature Conservancy of Canada. 

My Trumpeter Swan photograph featured here is an example of my original tight portraiture style that is now evolving to a style that creates images that allow a little breathing room.  I am including more habitats in my wildlife photographs and am slowly seeing myself extracting small, interesting scenes from the grand landscape when the creatures are scarce.

The image was shot two stops under my camera’s meter at f9. In Photoshop 3, I dropped the exposure one more full stop to achieve this effect. I used a Canon 50d body to take advantage of the crop factor. On the body my 500mm f4IS lens and 1.4x teleconverter were used. Everything was mounted on a tripod.  My main goal while looking through the lens was to make sure I had the bird level.

We are pleased that Peter was willing to share this outstanding shot in support of Trumpeter Swans and The Trumpeter Swan Society. To see more of his photos, please visit his stunning web page at:


January 5, 2011
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Inland Lakes of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Jayne Schafer

Background: Historically, Trumpeter Swans were abundant throughout the Great Lakes region, even in the southern Michigan marshlands. However, following settlement, populations plummeted. Beginning in the 1800s, European settlers cleared the land, draining and filling important marsh habitat, killed swans for food, and market hunters took swans for their fine down and quills. Mute Swans, which are native to Europe and Asia, were brought to the United States from the mid-1800s through the early 1900s and competed with Trumpeters for dwindling aquatic habitats.  By 1933, only 66 Trumpeter Swans remained in the continental United States, in a remote part of the Rocky Mountains. Nearly 100 years passed before Trumpeter Swans were seen again in the Michigan wilds.

During the 1980s, Michigan began a swan reintroduction program. The Michigan commitment was the establishment of three self-sustaining populations of at least 200 swans by the year 2000. Early attempts at cross-fostering Trumpeter eggs with Mute Swans yielded low success rates and were abandoned. Rearing of cygnets for two years prior to releasing them into prime wetland habitat was then implemented. Eggs were collected from zoos and incubated to hatching. The Michigan restoration program has been successful: the 2000 count of Trumpeter Swans in Michigan exceeded 400 individuals. In late summer, 2010, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment participated in a continent-wide census to determine the population size and distribution of Trumpeter swans.  Results are pending.

Sleeping Bear Dunes (SLBE) Project:   Between 2006 and 2007, the park, in association with the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, released 14 Trumpeter Swan cygnets as part of a reintroduction program.   Eight cygnets were banded and released in July of 2006. An additional 6 cygnets were banded and released the following summer.

  • Source cygnets came from the W. K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary located between Kalamazoo and Battle Creek and were supplied to the park by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians.
  • Cygnets were within 3 or 4 weeks of flight and were released within six hours of capture.
  • The SLBE release site was selected based upon habitat quality and the low visitation to this area.  Ample food for growth and building reserves for fall flight was noted in the area. Other considerations included risk to illegal hunting/shooting, lead shot, and predation.


  • Following the release, a habitat survey was completed for all of the lakes within SLBE to evaluate the quality of Trumpeter Swan habitat.  The survey will be used to prioritize locations for future swan releases.
  • To date, follow-up monitoring has not been completed due to staffing constraints.  VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED for the spring of 2011.

Sleeping Bear Dunes biologist Sue Jennings reports that she observed a group of 7 adults swimming close to shore on Lake Michigan (near Esch Beach) in May, 2010, and other sightings during the summer were received. However, it has been a few years since park staff members have been able to actively monitor Trumpeter Swan nesting activities. Piping Plover work has been the top priority due to their endangered status, but Sue is hoping the park will be able to conduct nesting surveys for Trumpeter Swans as well as Common Loons next spring.

She is seeking VOLUNTEERS for the spring of 2011; and we hope to help her find people interested in assisting with a Trumpeter Swan nesting survey. She needs 1-2 individuals who would be available at least 1-2 days/week in early April through Mid-May. Proficiency with a canoe or kayak (intermediate level) is a requirement. Individuals familiar with the species (identification, nesting behavior) would be ideal, however, Sue would provide the necessary training (field identification and monitoring protocols) and field equipment (kayak/canoe, binoculars, etc.) to competent individuals.  

If you are interested, please contact:

Sue Jennings


Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

9922 Front Street

Empire, MI 49630

231-326-5134 ext. 422

TTSS thanks Sue Jennings for her work with Trumpeters and for the background data for this Blog feature.