State fish and wildlife agencies are currently undertaking recovery efforts to reestablish populations in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. The trumpeter swan is a majestic bird, with snowy white feathers; jet-black bill, feet, and legs; and 8-foot wingspan.
The tundra swan weighs approximately 15 pounds, has a high whistling call, and migrates long distances between summer and winter ranges. Sometime between late March and early May, they build their nests, choosing locations close to the water, either on shore, small islands, or muskrat and beaver lodges.
The nest mound, which takes about 2 weeks to build, reaches a diameter of 6 to 12 feet and an average height of 18 inches. The pen spends an average of 35 days incubating the eggs while the cob stays nearby to defend the nest against intruders or predators.
When they hatch, the downy young (called cygnets) are grayish with pink bills and weigh about 1/2 pound each. Trumpeter swans use their strong webbed feet to dig into the pond or lake bottom for roots, shoots, and tubers, then plunge their heads and necks underwater to eat what they've dug up.
In deeper water, they tip up completely to snap off the leaves and stems of plants growing underwater. Their heads and necks are often stained a rusty color from feeding in ferrous (containing iron) waters.
By 8 to 10 weeks of age, young trumpeters have reached half their adult size and are fully feathered. The trumpeter swan is vulnerable to illegal shooting, collisions with power lines, and predators such as snapping turtles, great horned owls, raccoons, and minks which steal the eggs and attack the young.
Red Rock Lakes is located in Montana's Centennial Valley and is part of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem. The area's system of hot springs provides year-round open waters where trumpeters, as well as other wildlife, find food and cover even in the coldest weather.
Over the years, the Red Rock Lakes refuge flock served as an important source of breeding birds for reintroduction efforts in other parts of the country, primarily on other national wildlife refuges in the Midwest. In the early 1950s, a fairly large, previously unknown population of trumpeter swans was discovered in Alaska.
Today, estimates show about 16,000 trumpeter swans reside in North America, including some 13,000 in Alaska, which winter on the Pacific Coast; more than 1,600 in Canada; about 500 in the Midwest; and more than 500 in the prostate area of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana (including the Red Rock Lakes refuge flock). Largest of the native waterfowl in North America, and one of our heaviest flying birds, the Trumpeter Swan was almost driven to extinction early in the 20th century.
Conservation status TrumpeterSwans once nested over most of North America, but disappeared rapidly as civilization advanced westward; by the 1930s, fewer than 100 remained south of Canada. More recent efforts have focused on reintroducing the species to areas thought to be part of the former breeding range, including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Ontario. Family Ducks and Geese HabitatLakes, ponds, large rivers; in winter, also bays.
Favors large but shallow freshwater ponds, or wide, slow-flowing rivers, with lots of vegetation. Most of current range is in forested regions, but at one time was also common on northern prairies.
Largest of the native waterfowl in North America, and one of our heaviest flying birds, the Trumpeter Swan was almost driven to extinction early in the 20th century. To forage in deeper water, swans upend with tail up and neck extending straight down, finding food by touch with bill.
Adults eat mainly stems, leaves, and roots of aquatic plants, including pond weed, edges, rushes, arrow leaf, wild celery, bulrush, burred, and many others. Nest site is surrounded by water, as on small island, beaver or muskrat house, floating platform.
Nest (built by both sexes, although female may do most work) is a low mound of plant material, several feet in diameter, with a depressed bowl in the center. Northern Trumpeters move south in late fall as waters begin to freeze.
Spring migration begins early, birds often reaching nesting territory before waters are free of ice. Northern Trumpeters move south in late fall as waters begin to freeze.
Spring migration begins early, birds often reaching nesting territory before waters are free of ice. Audio © Lang Elliott, Bob McGuire, Kevin Cover, Martin Stewart and others.
The large-bodied trumpeters were hunted to near extinction a century ago, but a few pockets survived in remote parts of Idaho and Montana where they could find open water year round. Now they appear to be migrating again in large numbers and consequently finding themselves in hunters’ crosshairs, according to Blair String ham, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources migratory game bird program coordinator.
Each fall, swans migrate from the north passing through the Great Salt Lake and other bodies of open water en route to their winter quarters. But Dr is not sure where Utah’s increasing numbers of trumpeters are coming from; its biologists are conducting research to figure that out.
Successful hunters are required to present their swans to wildlife officials within 72 hours, so they can keep close track of any trumpeters that wind up dead. This year, officials kept feather samples which they hope to use to identify where the swans migrated from with the help of isotope analysis, according to String ham.
In previous years, Utah hunters rarely brought in even a handful of trumpeters, so it was surprising that the 20-bird limit has been reached in back-to-back seasons. But it could also indicate some swan hunters are deliberately targeting trumpeters, which make for coveted trophies, but String ham said he has no evidence to support that.
At up to 33 pounds, trumpeters are North America’s largest bird, about twice the size of their smaller cousins, and they make a distinctive call that gives them their name. Tundra swans heads are curved and have a yellow patch on the fleshy part of their black bills near the eyes.
Fish and Wildlife Service is working on a plan that would let hunters shoot them in several states that allow the hunting of tundra swans, a more numerous species. But the risk is expected to grow as trumpeter swans spread from states that have invested heavily in restoration efforts, such as Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan in the Mississippi Flyway.
But that approach doesn’t sit well with some bird lovers, including the man who led the restoration effort in Minnesota, where the trumpeter swan population has grown over the past 35 years from none to more than 20,000. Carol Henderson, supervisor of the Non game Wildlife Fund at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, personally brought back the eggs from Alaska that seeded the state’s flock in the 1980s.
Speaking for himself, not the state agency, Henderson said he fears the federal plan puts at risk a population that Minnesota brought back using about $500,000 raised through a program that lets people contribute by filling in a box on their income tax forms. Officially, it’s called a “draft environmental assessment” for a “proposal to establish a framework for general swan hunting seasons in the Atlantic, Mississippi and Central flyways.” The online comment period closes Sunday.
Fish and Wildlife Service is working on a plan that would let hunters shoot them in several states that allow the hunting of tundra swans, a more numerous species. “ Trumpeter swans are a conservation success story,” said Brad Brother, chief of the service’s migratory bird management division.
But the risk is expected to grow as trumpeter swans spread from states that have invested heavily in restoration efforts, such as Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan in the Mississippi Flyway. But that approach doesn’t sit well with some bird lovers, including the man who led the restoration effort in Minnesota, where the trumpeter swan population has grown over the past 35 years from none to more than 20,000.
Carol Henderson, supervisor of the Non game Wildlife Fund at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, personally brought back the eggs from Alaska that seeded the state’s flock in the 1980s. Speaking for himself, not the state agency, Henderson said he fears the federal plan puts at risk a population that Minnesota brought back using about $500,000 raised through a program that lets people contribute by filling in a box on their income tax forms.
“If a proposal were made to turn it into a game species, I think the agency would suffer a huge black eye,” he said. Officially, it’s called a “draft environmental assessment” for a “proposal to establish a framework for general swan hunting seasons in the Atlantic, Mississippi and Central flyways.” The online comment period closes Sunday.
The complaint states the officers saw a trumpeter swan swimming, and following behind it was a man in a kayak, later identified as Connor Benjamin Walsh, 24. According to the complaint, Walsh told officers he thought the swans were snow geese, but admitted to killing them.
Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area Where WILD TUNDRA SWANS & Snow Geese Fly Free. Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area is a Unique Place to view Several Thousand Tundra Swans while they stop and rest in Flocks waiting for some Instinctive Signal that it is Time to Fly North, back toward the Territories where they will start their Nesting Season.
From February through early March, as Large Migrating Flocks of Waterfowl begin to Arrive at Middle Creek, you may hear Comments on the Local News that the Snow Geese are at Middle Creek Wildlife Center. (Link Below) In Early February Middle Creek Staff start to Potentiated Bird Counts every few days.
Is In South Central Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County. It is a Man made 380-Plus Acre Reservoir ImpoundmentConstructed and Completed in the early 1970s. For those who enjoy Bird Watching. It is a Place to witness the Annual Spring Migration of Tundra Swans, Snow Geese, Canada Geese. And many other Species of Hawks, Ducks and Birds. There are Resident Nesting Bald Eagles.
Middle Creek is a delightful place to spend a few hours on a Nice Day. Search for: Middle Creek Waterfowl Migration Update The Site Link is Too Long.
Wildlife include: Tundra Swans, Snow Geese, Assorted Ducks. Caribou, Muskoxen, Barren-Ground Grizzly Bears. There are Wolves, Foxes, Weasels, Ground Squirrels, Arctic Hares and Lemmings. There would not be enough time for Late Cygnets to develop and be ready to Migrate when the Tundra Swans must once again Fly South.
By early September the Cygnets must be fully feathered and able to fly well enough to travel Hundreds to an average of a Thousand Miles with their Parents. The major Fall Migration of Tundra Swan occurs more to the East in late September to early November.
Ontario’s Long Point on the North Shore of Lake Erie, is an important Spring and Autumn Migratory Staging Area for the Eastern Population of Tundra Swans. After Staging, they will fly Day and Night making a non-stop Migration of almost a Thousand Miles to their Wintering Areas. The Eastern Population will distribute down the Atlantic Flyway along the Eastern Shoreline from the Chesapeake Bay to Wetlands of the Carolina's.
The Cygnets will have just One Round-Trip with their Parents to learn the Migration Route and where to find the Foods they need to survive. A Study found a 52 Percent Survival Rate for Tundra Swan Cygnets during their first Migration.
Large Wedges of Tundra Swans may take Flight at Sunset heading North. You may hear a Flock of Tundra Swans flying at Night as their Whistling Calls float through the Cool Air.
It is a thrill to witness this Seasonal Nocturnal Event. With Binoculars, you may get to see Migrating Birds flying across the Moon. 800-1000 Miles is the Average Distance from Middle Creek to their Tundra Nesting Regions.
Hunting Tundra or TrumpeterSwans is Prohibited in PA. Sadly, that is not the same for Feral Mute Swans. On a nice Weekend the Roads around Middle Creek are Jammed with Visitors from all over the East Coast when the Migration is in Progress. We watch for Fair Weather and visit during the Week.
During Late Fall through the Winter Months. Willow Point Walking Trail may be Closed to the Public due to Hunting Season. The Driving Tour Roads that run through the interior part of Middle Creek are closed from September 15-30th to March 1st to all traffic. There is NO Foot or Bicycle Traffic allowed during this time.
The Driving Tour Roads Open on March 1st most years, if the Weather Conditions are acceptable. Check for any Updates for the Tour Roads Opening. Some years this may be delayed due to Snow on the Ground.
*** At Sunrise there is increased activity as the NocturnalTraveling Flocks of Waterfowl arrive at Middle Creek Lake. Large Flocks of the Waterfowl will spend time away from the Middle Creek Reservoir Lake during the Day.
As you Drive around the Area you will see Flocks of WaterfowlGrazing in Grain and Corn Fields and on Ponds of Local Farms. The Birds will forage in Farm Fields, picking up Salvage Corn and other Grains left after the Fall Harvest.
I Fix my Gaze on the Individual Swans as they move further away. I want to hold these images in my Memories. Magic is Flying Away. Holding my Eyes on the Whole Flock… With Each Rhythmic Motion of their huge strong Wings they are lifting higher into the Colored Rays of the Setting Sun.
Distant Stars will Guide them on their Night Flight. Miles and Miles and Miles. The Warm Light of the Spring Moon will Chase them through breaks in the Grey-Blue Clouds. It is possible during the Early Spring you might see/find an Injured Tundra Swans. Migrating Tundra Swans can get hit by Vehicles. They may Fly into Power lines. Resulting in burns, broken wings and legs.
Please Report Injured Tundra or TrumpeterSwans to theta Game Commission. Or a Wildlife Rehab Rescue. Most of the Injured Tundra Swans are taken to Prostate Bird Rescue in Delaware. They will be Evaluated and Treated if there is hope for Recovery and Release.
The Pink Band slowly rose higher into the Sky above the Grey-Blue Shadow of the Earth as the Sun slipped further below the Western Horizon. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 Both comments and pings are currently closed.