Posts Tagged ‘Martha Jordan’

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.

 

 

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.