Trumpeter Watch: 2010 Iowa Update – by Dave Hoffman

Banded Swan at Beemer's Pond, Iowa by Bill Schuerman

The Iowa midwinter survey tallied 289 Trumpeter swans in Iowa during the first week of January 2011. Beemer’s pond near Webster City, IA had the highest count in late November with 162 swans reported.  Other winter reports included:  46 at Atlantic Quarry, 36 at Nora Springs and 25 on a private pond at Bob and Mary Boock’s.  Nearby out of state numbers included 101 at Squaw Creek NWR in NE Missouri, ~ 5,500 swans in Minnesota and 274 swans counted at Magness Lake near Heber Springs, Arkansas.

Update on the Arkansas-Iowa swan migration experiment  

 Green collar 1P1 and mate were observed at Beemer’s Pond near Webster City, IA on Nov 27th 2010, then at Magness Lake, AR on Jan 14, 2011. 1P1 is a 2007 hatch year female from Lake Wapello State Park released at Holla Bend NWR (6 S Dardanelle, Arkansas) on 1/24/2008.

Additional swans left Beemer’s pond during the same time period when the winter snow and cold set it.  It is hoped that the departing swans were led south to Arkansas by an experienced traveler, 1P1, and were able to learn new migratory routes. 

Iowa collared swans reported out of state continue to trickle in from Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kentucky.

Experimental fall release at the Boock’s Pond

The experimental fall release of three cygnets at Bob Boock’s pond looks to be very promising.  Bob Boock’s pond has developed into a “staging area” for swans to gather in the early fall.  Three cygnets from the Chicago Botanical Center were released in early October and were “adopted” by a lone free flying Trumpeter.  We would assume, under the guidance of an older experienced adult, that the newly released cygnets would have a much greater survival rate.

In 2010, 42 wild nesting pairs were reported in Iowa.  An estimated 120 cygnets were hatched with ~84 surviving till flight stage

A big thanks, to everyone helping out with the Trumpeter Swan Program. I am making an attempt to do my best to fill in for Ron Andrews, which are some mighty big shoes to fill!,    Ron is doing great in retirement and continues to volunteer and assist with the Trumpeter Swan program and many other DNR related duties.  I am really fortunate to have his help and guidance. He sends his best.  Dave

TTSS Note: Dave Hoffman is a biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.  Find out more about their Trumpeter Swan Restoration Program HERE. 

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