Posts Tagged ‘waterfowl management’

The Trumpeter Swan Society Welcomes New Board Members

May 15, 2013

HAL EVERETT swans in flight

The Trumpeter Swan Society is pleased to announce three new Directors have joined the Board to lead the Society in its dynamic endeavors to assure the vitality and security of wild Trumpeter Swans. Carey Smith of Vancouver, Washington, Jeff Nelson of Bozeman, Montana, and Sara Street, from Victoria Harbour, Ontario, have joined the Board of Directors.   We are very pleased to have these talented people on The Trumpeter Swan Society team!

Carey Smith

Retired Coordinator of the Pacific Coast joint Venture

Carey, a native of Illinois, served as a pilot in the US Air Force following his graduation from the University of Montana with a degree in zoology.  After his military tour, he returned to the University of Montana and completed a Masters Degree in Wildlife Biology. From 1978 to 1983, he was the Pacific Flyway Biologist for the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).  These unique positions combine the skills of waterfowl biologist and airplane pilot for completing aerial surveys throughout North America as well as numerous other migratory bird program functions.

In 1983, Carey began a 5-year assignment as the Regional Refuge Biologist for FWS in Portland, Oregon.  In that job, he initiated annual biological workshops for field staff of National Wildlife Refuges in that region and was responsible for evaluation and oversight of refuge biological programs in over 100 refuges in 7 western states.  As the regional biological program developed, it became the Division of Biological Support for which Carey was the Chief from 1988 through 1990.

In 1990, Carey became the Coordinator of the Pacific Coast Joint Venture (PCJV) of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.  He coordinated wetland and migratory bird conservation projects from Alaska through coastal British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon.  He was responsible for fundraising and facilitation of numerous important initiatives.  In 2004, Carey retired from FWS, but continued as Coordinator of the PCJV under contract until his retirement in 2012. 

Jeffrey Nelson

Deputy Director for WWF’s Northern Great Plains Program

Jeff joined the World Wildlife Fund in January 2012 as the Deputy Director for the its Northern Great Plains Program.  Prior to joining WWF, Jeff was with Ducks Unlimited, Inc. for 30 years. He spent 12 of those years in Bismarck, North Dakota, where he expanded the Great Plains program from 20 people to 65, tripled fundraising revenues, and assembled and led a strong, innovative conservation team.  Prior to that, he served in various executive positions at the National Headquarters of DU, including Group Manager and Chief Biologist for the organization.  He and his staff were recipients of several awards, both internally and from partners.

In February 2008, Jeff was appointed CEO of Ducks Unlimited Canada where he led a staff of 420 until his retirement in the fall of 2011.  During that period, Jeff restructured the executive team and led the development of long-term strategic and annual business planning.  A comprehensive capital campaign by DUC was completed under his tenure, generating nearly $600M as part of a continental campaign together with Ducks Unlimited, Inc. that raised $1.7B in 6 years. While there, he served on the Boards of Ducks Unlimited Canada and Wildlife Habitat Canada.

A scientist by training, Jeff received an MS in Wildlife Ecology from Utah State University and did his field work at the Delta Waterfowl and Wetlands Research Station in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.  He brought his fundraising experience, strategic planning skills, and continental network to WWF where he is now leading efforts toward on-the-ground con­servation in the Northern Great Plains. Jeff leads the program’s conservation and planning efforts while supporting its managing director.  He is focused on growing relation­ships with conservation groups, public agencies, and tribes, while forming new partnerships with rural communities, landowners, and sportsman organizations.

Sara Street

Executive Director, Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre 

Sara is currently the Executive Director of the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre, located on 3,000 acres of wetlands, fen, and forest in Midland, Ontario (near Georgian Bay). She leads the organization in its mission to spark a commitment to conserving wetlands, woodlands, and wildlife by creating exciting learning opportunities in a natural setting. Wye Marsh has played an integral role in Trumpeter Swan restoration since biologist Harry Lumsden began a provincial reintroduction program in the early 1980s to reestablish the Trumpeter Swan in its former habitat and range. Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre became a cooperator in the restoration of this magnificent species in 1989. Sara began work with Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre as a volunteer in 2008, and then became an employee in 2009, delivering educational awareness programs to participants of all ages as a professional outdoor educator.  She took on stewardship responsibilities for the organization in 2011. From this work, Sara brings organizational, educational, outreach, stewardship, and networking skills to TTSS.

Sara knows Trumpeter Swans on a first-hand basis, having worked with the team of Bev and Ray Kingdon, Kyna Intini, and Julie Kee to capture and mark Trumpeter Swans in Ontario. She is a licensed bander and participates in the collection of Trumpeter Swan carcasses for necropsy in order to determine cause of death and monitor the health of the population and capture and treat any injured swans as necessary.  Sara works to promote public awareness about the species throughout Ontario. She also brings an awareness of research and applied research to the Board, having worked previously on Golden-winged Warbler research and conservation and on reptiles at risk around Canada’s Georgian Bay.

Sara is steeped in a passion for wildlife, having been born and raised in Brechin, Ontario, on a farm with chickens and beef cattle.  She holds a BS in Zoology from the University of Guelph in Ontario.  Then, from Sir Sandford Fleming College in Lindsay, Ontario, she received a diploma in Ecosystem Management Technology, which focused on a number of things, including Benthic Biodiversity Network training, hands-on training in corporate sustainability, urban design and planning, and wildlife management.

Photo: Hal Everett, Washington

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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 and Trumpeters Say Goodbye to a Great Friend, Joe Johnson

November 2, 2012

Joe Johnson at TTSS’s 22nd Conference, Polson, MT

On October 9, 2012, the Society lost Director and friend Joe Johnson. W. C. “Joe” Johnson wrote and implemented the restoration plan for Trumpeter Swans for Michigan and served as the State’s Trumpeter Swan restoration coordinator. He led the very successful effort to restore the magnificent Trumpeter to part of its historical nesting range after over a century.The native of Kalamazoo was best known for his waterfowl and wetland expertise, but his interests and experience were much broader. Joe was an avid hunter and served on the National Board of Directors of Pheasants Forever for 16 years. He was elected to the Board of Directors of The Trumpeter Swan Society in 2003 and was an active member and TTSS Conference participant for many years prior to that. Since 1987, he has been the Chair of the Mississippi Flyway Council’s Swan Committee, continuing to serve even in retirement. At the time of his swan song, he was leading the Flyway Council’s effort to revise the management plan for Trumpeters.

Joe worked at Michigan State University’s W. K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary for 48 years. He retired in 2007 after being the sanctuary’s Manager since 1985. In addition to his excellent work with swans, he was instrumental in the successful return of Giant Canada Geese to Michigan.

Joe spent his last days at Rose Arbor Hospice Center that is surrounded by a natural space with ponds frequented by flocks of Canada geese. As Joe’s family left Rose Arbor all of the geese took flight hours earlier than their normal routine to escort Joe to the his next Sanctuary. We will sorely miss his friendship and good counsel. We will have to search for someone else to keep us in line according to Robert’s Rules of Order. He was truly one of kind!

When he retired the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary established the Joe Johnson Endowment Fund for Wildlife Conservation Fellowship. This fund provides support for students who want to study and work with wildlife conservation and habitat preservation or restoration at the Sanctuary. The Directors and staff of TTSS are going to make a contribution to the fund to honor Joe for his outstanding contributions to swan conservation and his leadership in TTSS. We invite you to do the same.

You may contribute to the Joe Johnson Endowment Fund for Wildlife Conservation Fellowship online.

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!

The Trumpeter Swan Society’s Associate Director, Becky Abel, Receives TogetherGreen Fellowship

August 26, 2012

TTSS’s Associate Director, Becky Abel

TTSS Board and staff are pleased to report that Associate Director Becky Abel was recently awarded a prestigious TogetherGreen fellowship.

TogetherGreen, a conservation initiative of the National Audubon Society and Toyota, selects 40 high-potential leaders annually to receive a $10,000 Fellows Grant. With the funds, Fellows conduct projects to engage diverse audiences in habitat, water, or energy conservation. In addition to receiving support launching their conservation initiatives, the Fellows also benefit from specialized training and the opportunity to become part of an exciting alumni network of conservation professionals.

“These are heroes. They help people engage with nature. They look like America: diverse, passionate, and patriotic,” said Audubon President David Yarnold. “Becky is a leader, and we’re pleased to give her a chance to invent the future.” Abel’s TogetherGreen project aims to develop guidance documents that outline steps for partnering with electric energy companies across the US to reduce Trumpeter Swan mortality associated with power lines. The TogetherGreen Fellowship Program provides the selected leaders with resources, visibility, and a growing peer network to help them lead communities nationwide to a healthier environmental future.

“Trumpeter Swans offer potential to serve as ambassadors for broad conservation messages related to wetland loss, for responsible stewardship of the earth’s biodiversity, and to highlight threats to migratory birds,” Abel explained. “Unfortunately, human-caused hazards and habitat alteration continue to threaten the species’ long-term security.”

“We want to build partnerships between unlikely allies—conservation groups and electric energy companies,” she added. “In addition to Trumpeter Swans, our work will benefit Tundra Swans, Whooping and Sandhill Cranes, pelicans, and other large, low-flying birds.”

Learn more about Becky’s project on the TogetherGreen website, which describes their mission this way:  “The TogetherGreen Conservation Leadership Program invests in high-potential leaders, providing them with tools, resources, visibility, and a peer network to help them lead the conservation actions necessary to shape a greener, healthier future.”  The Trumpeter Swan Society applauds Becky for her role in this important project.

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

Remembering a Founding Father of The Trumpeter Swan Society, Peter Ward

May 4, 2012

Peter Ward at the Delta Waterfowl Research Station

Peter Ward was one of the founding fathers of The Trumpeter Swan Society in 1968.  He died suddenly on March 24 at the age of 92 in his home in Portagela Prairie, Manitoba.  Up until last May, Peter had been an integral part of the Delta Marsh for decades – “Delta Waterfowl’s ‘legend-in-residence.’”  The following is from Delta Waterfowl’s Web site:

“Peter first went to Delta Marsh in 1926 as the six-year-old son of gamekeeper Edward Ward. After serving as a bomber pilot and flight instructor with the Royal Canadian Air Force in World War II, Peter attended art school; then returned to the Delta Duck Station where he handled a variety of duties over the next 60 years. Despite having no formal training, he worked side-by-side with Albert Hochbaum, Lyle Sowls, Art Hawkins and other notable researchers on numerous ground-breaking advances in waterfowl science. Peter managed Delta’s hatchery facilities and played a key role in establishing the early breeding population and habitat surveys.”

In the late 1960s, Fred King, Chairman of the Hennepin County Park Reserve District, was keen on restoring Trumpeter Swans to Minnesota, in particular to the Park Reserve District west of Minneapolis.  Through his friendship with Ford and Charlie Bell of Minneapolis, Fred met Albert Hochbaum and Peter Ward of the Delta Waterfowl Research Station just north of Portagela Prairie.  Fred wanted Al’s and Peter’s good counsel on Trumpeters, since they had experience in raising these birds in captivity.

As Dave Weaver wrote in A History of The Trumpeter Swan Society in 2008, Fred King attributed the suggestion for a Trumpeter Swan Society to Al Hochbaum. The idea received an enthusiastic response from Fred, Peter Ward, and the other founders who had met in September 1968 to discuss the Hennepin Parks swan restoration project.

Peter Ward was always very generous with his knowledge about Trumpeters and was important in the initial efforts of Trumpeter restoration in Hennepin Parks.  When Dave Weaver spoke with him in 2008 while researching his TTSS history paper, Peter assured Dave that every Trumpeter “start up” flock had the Delta bloodline.  This was prior to using Red Rock Lakes NWR and Alaska as sources of eggs and cygnets.

With Peter hosting, the 4th Trumpeter Swan Society Conference was held in 1974 at the Delta Waterfowl Research Station, now known as Delta Waterfowl and Wetlands Research Station.  A subsequent meeting of the Society’s Board of Directors was held there a year or two later.

Peter’s obituary, written by one of his children, speaks of his love of the natural world around him, especially the marsh:  “He lived the rest of his life surrounded by the marsh, and his life’s work of paintings attest to how much he loved, understood and appreciated this life. His contributions to the world of wildlife, waterfowl, and art will not be forgotten.”

“I have no quarrel with the life I’ve led, longer and freer than most. A better person I might have been, if a roadmap for such existed.”

– An excerpt from the Memoirs of Peter Ward, unpublished.

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.

 

 

Remembering Harold H. Burgess, Trumpeter Swan Society Past President and Board of Directors

April 16, 2012

Last month, members, Board members and staff of The Trumpeter Swan Society were saddened to hear of the death of Harold Burgess.  Harold served on the Society’s Board of Directors and as President of TTSS for two terms. He was recently honored by the Society as one of the first recipients of the TTSS George Melendez Wright Trumpeter Swan Conservation Award.  A copy of his obituary follows:

Harold H, Burgess

Harold H. Burgess died Tuesday, March 13, 2012, in Weslaco, TX, at age 94.  He was born in 1917 at Cedardale, Michigan.  Survivors include his children Thomas, Mary and Barbara, son-in-law Terry, grandchildren David, Hannah, and Betsy, granddaughter-in-law Crystal.  His wife Ruth; his parents Guy and Mary; his brothers Henry, Fred, Robert, Eugene, and James precede him in death.

After graduation from Deckerville High School, Harold served with the Civilian Conservation Corps in Upper Michigan.  He graduated from Michigan State College with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry.  In 1942, he became a superintendent at Firestone Rubber Plantation in Liberia, West Africa.  While traveling through the Liberian hinterland, he met his future wife, Ruth Longstaff, at Ganta Mission.

Returning to Michigan State College, he finished his Masters in Zoology.  After enlisting in the 8th Army Engineers, he married Ruth in December 1947 and served as a forestry adviser in Korea and later as an agriculture adviser in Japan.

In 1950 he began 30 years with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, managing four National Wildlife Refuges of the Missouri-Mississippi watershed in succession, completing his career at the Area Office in North Kansas City, Missouri.  For a second 30 years after retirement, he volunteered at various nature sanctuaries, wildlife refuges, and state parks.  Those in Texas included Laguna Atascosa NWR, Lower Rio Grande NWR, Santa Ana NWR, Valley Nature Center, and Estero Llano Grande State Park.  He also took part in the Texas Breeding Bird Atlas, Elder Hostel programs, as well as both the Frontera and the Rio Grande Valley Audubon Societies.  Harold received The Valley Nature Center’s “Outstanding Naturalist Award” for 2002.

Though interested in all birds, Harold considered himself an avian ecologist rather than an ornithologist.  After initial work with pheasants in Michigan, his career with the US Fish and Wildlife Service allowed projects improving the habitat of specific waterfowl at various National Wildlife Refuges.  At Upper Mississippi  (WI) he worked with Wood Ducks; at Union Slough ( IA), Blue-Winged Teal; at Squaw Creek (MO), Snow Geese and Canada Geese; and at Lacreek (SD), Trumpeter Swans.  Even in retirement on the Lower Rio Grande, he added another specialty:  Black-bellied Whistling Ducks.

However, Harold had found his passion to be with Trumpeter Swans.  Trumpeters had nearly gone extinct in the 48 states by the 1930s.  The ensuing work of the Fish and Wildlife Service in preserving this nesting population, was extended by The Trumpeter Swan Society, whose mission is to restore the species to its previously existing breeding and migration ranges.  After retirement in 1980 he volunteered with The Trumpeter Swan Society, serving on the board of directors and two terms as president.

In lieu of flowers, friends are invited to consider making a donation to or becoming members of The Trumpeter Swan Society.  http://www.trumpeterswansociety.org   The family will appreciate cards and reminiscences from Harold’s many friends.  A memorial is planned later this spring and is open to the public.  It will take place June 16, 2012, at 2 PM at The Valley Nature Center, 301 S. Border Ave, Weslaco, (956) 969-2475.

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.