Posts Tagged ‘Wisconsin’

The Trumpeter Swan Society Announces New Associate Director – Becky Abel

December 20, 2011

Becky brings several years of nonprofit management and migratory bird conservation experience to her role as the new Associate Director of The Trumpeter Swan Society.

Prior to joining the staff of TTSS, Becky served for eight years as Executive Director of the Wisconsin Wetlands Association, which grew in size, influence and profile and earned statewide and international awards under her leadership. Before that, she worked for seven years in various roles for The Nature Conservancy, the most recent position as Conservation Planner for their Migratory Bird Program (formerly Wings of the Americas.) Becky led conservation planning efforts at scales that range from the site level to large-scale planning for birds that spanned three countries and involved multiple partners.

Becky holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Wildlife Ecology from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her graduate work involved designing a successful technique for reintroducing Trumpeter Swans to Wisconsin that involved imprinting cygnets on a life-sized swan decoy and rearing them in the wild. Trumpeter Swans released using this technique showed high survival and strong site fidelity and established migratory traditions. (Wisconsin’s decoy-reared birds were the first Trumpeter Swans to pioneer wintering at the Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary, now possibly the second largest wintering area for Trumpeter Swans in the lower 48.)

Becky served on the Board of The Trumpeter Swan Society from 2007 until she stepped down in November 2011 to accept the Associate Director position. Since 2006, she has also been on the board executive committee of Community Shares of Wisconsin, a social change organization that supports 50 environmental and social justice organizations through workplace giving campaigns, training, and technical assistance. She has served on the steering committee of the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative and was the 2008 North American representative for the World Wetlands Network, a network of worldwide NGOs dedicated to wetland conservation.

Becky is based in Madison, Wisconsin. In her free time, she enjoys reading, camping, paddling, horseback riding, and sharing her love of the outdoors with her kids.

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:

Video two is from the shore overlooking the efforts of the capture: