Archive for the ‘Management’ Category

The Trumpeter Swan Society Announces Fifth International Swan Symposium: Call for Papers – Deadline 21st July 2013

May 12, 2013
Trumpeter Swan by John VanOrman

Trumpeter Swan by John VanOrman

The Trumpeter Swan Society announces the 5th International Swan Symposium of the IUCN-SSC/Wetlands International Swan Specialist Group, being held in conjunction with the 23rd Conference of the Trumpeter Swan Society: Easton, Maryland 3 – 6 February 2014. Following the first announcement of the meeting, the Scientific Committee is calling for additional abstracts from those interested in presenting talks and/or posters.  .

Abstracts both for oral and for poster presentations should be of up to 500 words (max) and should be submitted to Eileen Rees, Scientific Coordinator for the symposium, by email (Eileen.Rees@wwt.org.uk). The abstract should include the names of co-authors, their email addresses, the postal address of the correspondence author, and details of student status (if applicable). For oral presentations, it is assumed that the correspondence author would be giving the talk, but this can be finalized in the weeks prior to the meeting.

Presentations can be on any aspect of swan research, and sessions will be grouped in accordance with the abstracts received, but we particularly encourage contributions on the following topics:

  • Migration strategies
  • Adaptation to changing environmental conditions
  • Threats faced by swan populations
  • Long-term population trends and distribution
  • Policy and management of swan populations

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 21st July 2013.

They will then be assessed by the Scientific Committee of the symposium, for approval for presentation at the meeting.

Authors will be informed whether their presentations have been accepted by 15th September 2013.  The duration of talks and guidelines for preparation of posters will be provided at that time.

If you have any queries regarding the Call for Papers, please contact Eileen Rees. Plans are being developed to publish a symposium proceedings; further information will be provided in due course.

Meanwhile, we look forward to receiving the Abstracts in the coming months.

Eileen Rees, John Cornely, Bart Nolet, Chris Perrins, Ma Ming and Scott Petrie

The Scientific Committee for the 5th ISS

The Trumpeter Swan Society Stands Firm on Lead – Call for New Members to Stengthen the Stand

September 12, 2012

Trumpeter in Flight by Gail Miller
http://www.pbase.com/gnmimiller/trumpeter_swans

TTSS STANDS FIRM ON NEED TO ADDRESS TOXIC LEAD IN AMMUNITION

As TTSS kicks off its Fall Membership Drive, the Board of Directors stands firm on the Society’s fight against toxic lead.  On 7 June, TTSS along with six other conservation groups filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency for refusing to address toxic lead in hunting ammunition, which frequently poisons and kills eagles, swans, loons, endangered California Condors, and other wildlife, as well as affecting human health. Ignoring well-established science on the dangers of lead poisoning from spent ammunition, the EPA refuses to acknowledge or evaluate risks to wildlife and humans. The EPA in April denied a petition requesting a public process to consider regulations for nontoxic hunting ammunition. TTSS was one of 100 groups that signed that petition.  The lawsuit challenges that decision.

“The EPA has the ability to immediately end the unintended killing of eagles, swans, loons, condors, and other wildlife,” said Jeff Miller with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Unfortunately, the agency refuses to address this needless poisoning. We’ve removed toxic lead from gasoline, paint, and most products exposing humans to lead poisoning; now it’s time to do the same for hunting ammunition to protect America’s wildlife.”

For several years, the Directors of TTSS have urged decision makers to “get the lead out.”  In Washington State and adjacent British Columbia, since 1999, over 3,000 swans have been confirmed to have died from ingesting lead shot.  Expended lead shot persists in the environment for a long time.  These swans died from ingesting lead shot deposited by hunters years ago.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation has branded this a frivolous law suit and an attack on hunting.  As a hunter, TTSS’s Executive Director, John Cornely, takes very strong exception to that, and stresses that getting the lead out is in line with traditional conservation and hunting values.  Indeed, TTSS was founded by waterfowl biologists and hunters and has avid hunters and anglers on its board, staff, and as members today.

There are alternatives to lead rifle bullets and shotgun pellets. More than a dozen manufacturers market varieties and calibers of nonlead bullets and shot made of steel, copper, and alloys of other metals, with satisfactory to superior ballistics. Hunters in areas with restrictions on lead ammunition have very successfully transitioned to hunting with nontoxic bullets.  As the next generation of cygnets fledges, the message from TTSS’s John Cornely is clear, “let’s make the environment safer for them and all of us.”

Associate Director Becky Abel stresses that membership is key to strengthening our voice for Trumpeter Swans and the habitats upon which they depend. To do this, TTSS needs more members, more funds, and more people who understand and support the issues that we tackle. One of our generous board members has offered a membership challenge and will match dollar for dollar all new and increasing donations to TTSS. This is the ideal time to join. Do you know of a classroom that is reading E.B. White’s The Trumpet of the Swan? Why not give the teacher a membership? Are you looking for a meaningful gift idea for a conservationist on your list? Your donations will be matched – JOIN US online today!

Restoring Grayling and Trumpeter Swans, a Growing Management Challenge

August 5, 2012

Image

Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge (RRL) in Montana’s Centennial Valley is the most important nesting area for Trumpeter Swans in the western United States.  In addition to the vast refuge marshes, there are also 30+ historic nesting territories on nearby federal and private lands.  Greater Yellowstone’s nesting swans are the most vulnerable breeding Trumpeters in North America and the only nesting group that escaped extinction in the lower 48 states.  Swan habitat management decisions in the Centennial Valley will have a substantial impact on the viability of these nesting swans.

Last year, through our Centennial Valley Project, we produced a detailed report summarizing the off-refuge territories and providing recommendations to correct problems and increase nest success. This year, we are working with landowners to improve conditions at priority territories.  Thanks to grants received from the Cinnabar Foundation and the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, we are also expanding our efforts to focus on a very important issue – ensuring that efforts to restore lake-dwelling grayling are planned with the utmost care to avoid significant damage to important Trumpeter Swan habitat.

Although this beautiful fish is widespread in Alaska and Canada, grayling in Montana are a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act.  The Centennial Valley is home to one of the last lake-dwelling populations in the lower 48 states.  Recently, fish managers have proposed restoration actions that would drain both Culver and MacDonald Ponds on RRL.  These spring-fed man-made ponds have provided much of the late winter/early spring foraging habitat for the valley’s nesting swans for over 100 years and TTSS is asking the US Fish and Wildlife Service to carefully reconsider this action.

Careful integration of grayling and Trumpeter Swan restoration needs will be a challenge for the foreseeable future.  Our goal is to build a vital partnership with fish managers and conservationists to explore all possible management options and find ways to minimize and mitigate swan habitat damage if at times it is unavoidable.  We are hopeful that this situation, involving the restoration of two iconic, vulnerable populations, will become a showcase effort of integrated management for vulnerable species with overlapping ranges that have differing habitat needs.

This article by TTSS Board Member Ruth Shea appeared in the July 2012 issue of Trumpetings, Vol. XXII, No. 2. Members of the Society receive this publication three times each year.

Find the detailed report summarizing TTSS’ recommendations for the Centennial Valley and more on the Greater Yellowstone Initiative (GYTSI):

http://www.trumpeterswansociety.org/GYTSI.html

The Trumpeter Swan Society Receives Major Grant from the Yellowstone to Yukon Consevation Initiative for Work in Montana’s Centennial Valley

May 26, 2012

Trumpeters in Centennial Valley by Jess Lee

The Trumpeter Swan Society is most grateful to the (Y2Y) Partner Grants Program for supporting our efforts to protect to swan habitat in Montana’s Centennial Valley.  Y2Y recently announced their grant of $4,500 to support our Centennial Valley Cooperative Wetland Conservation Project. The Centennial Valley, including Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, contains the single-most important nesting and molting habitat for Greater Yellowstone’s fragile Trumpeter Swan nesting flock.

Preventing damage to these habitats and where possible improving their quality is a top priority for TTSS.  Some of these wetlands also provide important habitat for Grayling, which might be listed as threatened or endangered in the near future.  Without great care, there is potential for some actions that would benefit Grayling to damage important swan habitats. In addition, at some sites water delivery problems and increasing human disturbance jeopardize swan nesting success.

Working closely with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, State of Montana, and other conservation partners, we will be working to develop a model program to minimize damage to swan habitat from fish conservation efforts and seek ways to improve swan habitat where possible. We will also be working with private landowners and public land managers to improve water levels and reduce disturbance of swans in historic habitats.

Trumpeter Pair in the Centennial Valley by Jess Lee http://www.jessleephotos.com

New Video Highlights the Strong Relationship Between Trumpeter Swans and Dairy Farms in Washington State

April 29, 2012

Trumpeter Swans Feed on Field Corn at one Washington State's Dairy Farms
Photo by Art Wolfe

Writer and naturalist Jenn Dean of Washington’s Snoqualmie Valley has produced a five-minute video that will bring current issues of Trumpeter Swans wintering in western Washington to the forefront. With engaging footage of both Trumpeter Swans and dairy cows, she points to their direct relationship. Martha Jordan, former TTSS Board member and current Chair of the Washington Swan Stewards, estimates as many as 85% of Trumpeters in Washington are currently dairy dependent. They thrive on waste corn.  Jenn interviews dairy farmer Andy Werkhoven, who with his brother Jim, has been in the dairy business, farming, for thirty years.  He details the increase of sightings over the last ten years, a period in which Pacific Coast Population numbers have climbed. Washington may now host some 27,000 Trumpeters in winter, so their future is integrally tied to the future of rural land and dairy farms. While death from ingestion of lead pellets has claimed some 2300 Trumpeters over the last decade, Martha Jordan feels that loss of habitat is an equal threat to future swan populations.  Watch Jenn Dean’s video for further detail.  TTSS thanks Jenn Dean for her work in making this video to help the public understand issues that face swans, and The Trumpeter Swan Society’s role in assuring their present and future security.

Washington Swan Stewards Swan Rescue Response Team, An Update from the Field

April 25, 2012

Washington Swan Stewards Response Team Captures M35

Spring has arrived in the Pacific Northwest.  The swans were about a week late in leaving this year and as of early April; a few were still hanging around.

In early April, Martha Jordan, former TTSS Board of Directors and current Chair, Washington Swan Stewards, noticed a pair of swans hanging around a chain of ponds at a well-known dog retriever training area east of Redmond, WA.  Two weeks later there was only one swan in the back pond of the property, a clear sign something was wrong. A quick view with her scope revealed this swan had a damaged wing and could not fly.  Martha and her colleagues mounted a rescue effort the following day.

It proved to be a major operation. Due to the topography of the area and the determination of this swan to remain free, it took seven people and two boats to capture the swan.  Martha tells us, “Mostly we stood on shore to keep the bird in the water, and then the people in the power boat were able to net the swan.  The swan is currently at a rehabilitation facility being evaluated and treated.  If all goes well, the bird will have surgery that will allow the swan to live a quality life in captivity.”

TTSS thanks Puget Sound Energy’s Mel Walters and two staff members, and volunteers from the local retriever hunting community who assisted us in making the capture go smoothly and quickly.

To make these captures possible it takes people and equipment. Although they have a portable Zodiac inflatable, this response team still needs other equipment including additional capture nets, another swan hook, and a car top boat such as an Aqua pod.  You can help support the Washington Swan Steward’s swan rescue response efforts with a donation to TTSS for the Washington Swan Steward’s Swan Rescue Fund.  Donations can be mailed to our main office in Minnesota (12615 County Road 9, Plymouth, MN 55441) or made online at www.trumpeterswansociety.org.

A mid-April Addendum from Martha Jordan

In May, 2011, TTSS and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife released two captive reared Trumpeter Swan yearlings, M35 and M36 into the wild.  It was an experiment to see if Trumpeter Swans could live in an urban setting with lots of lakes and homes. Problems occurred when one of the swans began regularly showing aggression to humans, so ahead of the breeding season almost a year later, WDFW and TTSS decided that the two swans must be caught and returned to captivity both for human safety as well as their own. 

 Thus began the Washington Swan Stewards attempts to catch these free spirited, free flying youngsters.  The person who had been watching over them and feeding them all year was very helpful since M36 came up to him on a regular basis.  Martha says, “We lured the swan up onto the lawn using decoys. While M36 was busy posturing in a turf battle with the decoys I netted him. M35 proved to be more elusive since he did not keep a regular schedule and was now hanging out on Long Lake, about 1 mile away.  I recruited some great volunteers from the local area who had helped last year with the release and who had experience with Mute Swan captures.  Russ McMillan and Chris Maynard took their small boat over to Long Lake to look for the swan.  Just after I left them at the boat launch they called to tell me that M35 was standing on the launch area about 5 feet from them.  I suggested that if they could get the swan within a foot of them they could likely attempt a hand capture.  What happened next was creative thinking at its best.  When I arrived back at the boat launch I found Chris lying on the ground holding the swan with a white blanket covering its head.  The photo says it all for how this went down: Russ under blanket, Chris behind.  They lured the swan about 10 more feet up the boat launch where Chris lay on the ground. Russ wiggling under the blanket got M35 to come up to him out of curiosity.  Chris rolled up and put his arms around the swan. Capture accomplished.”

Both swans are now safely in captivity. They will be placed in captive breeding programs where their new mates await them.  The Washington Swan Stewards thank WDFW District Wildlife Biologist Michelle Tihri for all her time and assistance, and all those that volunteered, Russ McMillan, Chris Maynard, Paul Fischbach and avian veterinarian Scott Ford.  A special thank you to Larry James for the year he spent making sure the boys were looked after during their wild year.

 

 

Trumpeter Watch, a Citizen Science Project of The Trumpeter Swan Society kicks off Third Winter Season

November 2, 2011

See Our Preliminary Results Online Photo: Peg Abbott

Trumpeter Watch, a Citizen Science program of The Trumpeter Swan Society, encourages observers to help the Society document the changing distribution of wintering Trumpeter Swans in states south of the 40th parallel.

In recent decades wild nesting populations of Trumpeter Swans have been successfully restored across the Interior northern states and Ontario. As populations grow, we see evidence that more and more swans are pioneering southward to areas where they may establish more southerly wintering sites.  Little is known about these southward moving swans; the duration that they use various sites, the location and characteristic of prime feeding and resting areas, or what problems they may be encountering.  Observers are needed primarily in states south of the 40th parallel, during the winter season, to help chart trends in this new winter distribution.  You can help!

The largest wintering concentrations south of the 40th parallel to date occur in and around Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary in the state of Missouri (along with adjacent southern Illinois) close to the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.  At the peak of winter, over 500 Trumpeters may be present.  Of note is that marked and collared Trumpeters from all the northern states have been sighted here, indicating a certain, but unknown degree of mixing.  

Observers have tallied Trumpeters in 41 of 114 counties in Missouri, two of which have recorded winter counts of swans over 100 in number.  A dozen additional sites note groups of 10 or more.  The Heber Springs area of Arkansas is an important wintering site, and observers throughout the southern states are asked to be especially vigilant looking for collared birds marked during an experimental winter release program conducted in cooperation between the Arkansas Game and Fish Department and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.  Kansas birders have recorded Trumpeters in 57 of 105 counties, and Oklahoma observers note them in 17 of 77 counties. We expect the lists to grow.  Be the first to add your county!

We are compiling records throughout the southern states, and with increased participation, we are starting to look at winter distribution in the western states as well. You’ll find preliminary results of Trumpeter Watch, learn about tools of the trade, and find a chart you can download to help you find the origins of marked, collared, wing-tagged and banded Trumpeter Swans on our website. This is an exciting program that needs YOUR support!  We ask that you get involved with sightings, and that you make a donation – however large or small – to support our efforts, through membership or a direct project donation. All of our work is aimed at fulfilling our mission, to assure the security and vitality of wild Trumpeter Swans.

22nd Trumpeter Swan Society Conference Final Agenda Released

October 5, 2011

Trumpeter Swan experts and enthusiasts from all regions of North America will soon convene in Montana. The final agenda for The Trumpeter Swan Society’s upcoming October 10-14, 2012 conference, in Polson is replete with experts on topics ranging from lead poisoning issues to genetic viability to recent results of the 5-Year 2010 Trumpeter Swan Survey. Find a list of speakers and topics on the Society’s website.

Dale Becker, TTSS Board President and biologist with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT), and Steve Lozar, CSKT Tribal Council Member will lead off with opening remarks, and a welcome to the Flathead Indian Reservation, co-sponsors of the Conference. Speakers scheduled for the October 11th,  Tuesday morning session will provide an overview of Trumpeter Swan population and issues, including an update on the 2010 North American Trumpeter Swan Survey. John Cornely, Executive Director, will describe the Society’s past, present and future, before kicking off an in-depth session on the pressing issue of conservation of Greater Yellowstone’s flocks. Susan Patla will speak Trumpeter status in Wyoming; Adonia Henry and Ruth Shea will discuss strategies for long term viability of Idaho’s Trumpeters. Gary Ivey, Board Vice President, will then chair a dynamic panel of experts including William Smith (USFWS), Rob Cavallaro (IDFG), J. Michael Scott (Univ. of Idaho), Jim Roscoe (Centennial Valley Assn.), and Kyle Cutting (USFWS).

After lunch, the agenda focus will be on Trumpeter Swan restoration efforts and genetic implications of programs, past and present. Several Montana projects will be featured by Janene Lichtenberg and Dale Becker (CSKT) and Clair Gower (MFWP), as well as an update of the Oregon program by Gary Ivey, and an overview of the situation for Trumpeters in Yellowstone, presented by Douglas W. Smith (NPS). Capping this session will be a talk by genetics expert Sara J. Oyler-McCance (USGS).

The afternoon will conclude with a session on managing for long-term viability, bringing in lessons learned from Greater Sage Grouse management, presented by Edward O. Garton (Univ. of Idaho). Effective use of partnerships to accomplish goals for viablity will be discussed by Dan Casey (American Bird Conservancy), with the afternoon session concluding with a panel and group discussion on a long term conservation vision for Greater Yellowstone.

Wednesday, October 12th is slated for an all day field trip to highlight Trumpeter Swan Restoration on the Flathead Indian Reservation, with visits to Pablo NWR, Ninepipe NWR and the Blackfoot River Valley to hear more on northern Montana’s efforts. That evening, filmmakers Steve and Char Harryman seek input from conference participants as they begin a five-year project to tell the remarkable story of the Trumpeter Swan.

Thursday, October 13 promises to be a full and exciting day. The morning sessions will feature updates on the Pacific Coast Population in Alaska and Canada. Board member Jim Hawkings will chair reports from Deborah J. Groves and John I. Hodges (USFWS), William Quirk (Anchorage), Karen S. Bollinger (USFWS), and Board member Jim King. After a break, Board member Joe Johnson chairs a session on Trumpeter Swan research; speakers include: Jim Hawkings (CWS), Harry Lumsden (TTSS Board, Ontario), Kyle Cutting (USFWS), and Mike Smith (Univ. of WA), who will address issues of lead shot poisoning in swans.

Topics after lunch hone in on the remarkable restoration of Interior populations, chaired by Ron Andrews, TTSS Board member recently retired from Iowa DNR. Speakers include Joe Johnson (TTSS Board, Michigan State Univ. Kellog Bird Sanctuary), Larry Gillette (Three Rivers Park District, MN), Wayne Brininger (USFWS), Dave Hoffman (IDNR), and Harry Lumsden.

The final session prior to the Thursday evening banquet is chaired by Becky Abel, TTSS Board member, wrapping up the conference with a focus on managing Interior and Pacific Coast populations. Shilo Comeau (USFWS) will speak on the High Plains flock, Roger Grosse (USFWS) will discuss landscape-level habitat use in the Sandhills of Nebraska and South Dakota, and Martha Jordan (Washington Swan Stewards) concludes with an update on Washington State Swan Stewards. All speakers and participants have a special treat in store, learning about George Melendez Wright, a pioneer for Trumpeter Swan Conservation, in the key note address given by Jerry Emory of the California Parks Foundation. Mr. Wright’s great influence on science-based wildlife management in our National Parks was prominently featured in the Ken Burns historical series on our nation’s parks. Participants staying on through the 14th are invited to join informal field trips to wildlife-rich areas in and around Polson.

Registration remains open and can be done online, or by contacting the Society’s Executive Director, John Cornely (303) 933-9861 johncornely@msn.com.

Details on the conference hotel and specifics can be found on the Society’s website.  Photo by TTSS member, A. Frederickson.

Trumpeter Swan Nest Survey Counts Reach Record High in 2011

September 28, 2011

Nesting Trumpeter Swan photo by Alan Sachanowski

A Recent Note from biologist and TTSS Board Member Sumner Matteson in Madison, Wisconsin:

In case folks inquire, we had a new record Wisconsin high of 192 nesting pairs of Trumpeter Swans in 23 counties.  Approximately 45 percent of nesting pairs occurred in two counties:  Polk and Burnett in northwestern Wisconsin.  In 2010, there were 176 nesting pairs in 24 counties, and in 2009, the former nesting peak was reached at 183 in 23 counties.  So, we continue our upward trend, but who’s counting?  This was our 25th year of the Trumpeter Swan Recovery Program, which has come a long way since our returning Board member, Becky Abel, helped with cross-fostering back in 1988 and then started her Master’s work on decoy-rearing in 1989. 

We fly the next few weeks to get a good handle on cygnet survival to fledging.  This summer, we again marked 100 cygnets during our roundups, thanks to the support of scores of volunteers, including about 20 interns from the International Crane Foundation in central Wisconsin.  Pat Manthey continues to coordinate field activities in northern Wisconsin, while I handle duties in central Wisconsin.  I concluded my fund-raising activities for the swan program, and we have sufficient funds for one more season of field work.  This will complete my post-delisting obligation to the state’s Natural Resources Board for annual monitoring of nesting swans.  Pat and I will have a 2-day retreat later this fall to chart a new course for the Department of Natural Resources for future swan monitoring, and I suspect that after next year, coordinated, statewide surveys of Trumpeters will likely occur once every 10 years.  

From Peg Abbott, Outreach Coordinator of TTSS:  Fascinating footage of recent capture and banding efforts can been seen on two YouTube videos, one from the perspective of a kayak paddler and another from land. I can tell you the kayak paddlers got a workout! 

Video one is from a kayak during the chase:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRibNU8_AWw

Video two is from the shore overlooking the efforts of the capture:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ws2kSEnjrQ

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) Looking for Reports of Trumpeter Swans

August 23, 2011
Trumpeter Swans by Jess Lee http://www.jessleephotos.com

(Text as published in the Arkansas Outdoors Weekly Newsletter, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission)

LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is asking the public to help with a project by reporting trumpeter swans “summering” in Arkansas.

As part of the Mississippi Flyway Council’s Trumpeter Swan Migration Experiment, 49 trumpeter swans were released in Arkansas during the winters of 2008, 2009 and 2010. This experiment attempts to re-establish historic swan winter migrations south into Arkansas and other southern states from the swans breeding areas in northern states.

Karen Rowe, the AGFC’s Bird Conservation Coordinator, said she is pleased that the majority of the released swans have returned north during the breeding season and many of them have returned to winter in Arkansas. “We have found that a number of our released swans have stayed in Arkansas during the summer and we want to identify and track these birds. We are interested in gathering information on these “summering” swans in order to evaluate the progress of this experiment and track the habitat preferences of these birds,” she explained.

AGFC is asking the public to report sightings of summer swans and when possible, include the collar color and alpha-numeric code on the swan collars. Each of the translocated swans is fitted with a neck collar that bears a unique letter-number code. Rowe says binoculars or a spotting scope are often needed to read the neck collar identification code. “Reports that contain the collar letter and number are extremely valuable because they enable us to track a particular swan, not just across Arkansas, but throughout its journey up and down the Mississippi Flyway. We really appreciate the observers’ efforts to obtain these important but difficult to read neck collar I.Ds.”

Observers should note the exact location of the swan, using a GPS when possible, and report the location, the collar color and alpha numeric code to Rowe at krowe@agfc.state.ar.us or by using the link to the AGFC survey form at http://www.agfc.com/species/Pages/TrumpeterSwanRestoration.aspx. Observers without internet access can report their sightings by calling toll free 877-873-4651.

Before European settlement, the breeding range for trumpeter swans encompassed over half of North America, including the northern portion of Arkansas. Commercial harvest of the birds for feathers, skins and meat extirpated trumpeter swans from almost all of North America by the late 1800s.

Reintroduction efforts have restored trumpeter swans to portions of their former breeding range. Today, approximately 5,000 trumpeter swans live in the Midwest area of the United States. Trumpeter swans may form pair bonds as early as their second summer, but typically do not breed until they are 4-7 years old. Trumpeters migrate in family groups and prefer to feed on aquatic vegetation.

Trumpeter swans are the largest birds native to North America. Adult males measure 57 to 64 inches long and weigh around 25 pounds. Adult females range from 55 to 60 inches and weigh approximately 20 pounds. Their wingspans can approach 8 feet, and they fly with their extremely long necks outstretched.