In this issue:
[IA GPS collared cygnet M Smith photo]
An Iowa cygnet swims back to its family after receiving a GPS collar to track and study its movements over the next one to three years.
Photo by Margaret Smith
Nine Iowa cygnets received GPS collars in late August and early September. They are part of a research project by Iowa State University to track the cygnets' movements over the next couple of years. TTSS is proud to be a funding partner of this research project, along with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Friends of Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge, Blank Park Zoo, and private individuals.
September is a busy time for our Oregon Restoration Project. In addition to releases late in the month, a swan family was moved to safer waters.
Fall is a beautiful time to check out a National Wildlife Refuge near you. Many refuges have special activities in the next couple of weeks. Did you know at least 62 National Wildlife Refuges have Trumpeter Swans at some point during the year?
If you are planning on spending the winter in a warmer climate, check out the large wintering population of Trumpeter Swans at Heber Springs in Arkansas!
[Documenting IA gps collar project M Smith photo]
Research project begins in Iowa
Next January, Iowa State University Ornithology students will begin tracking and analyzing data downloaded from GPS collars of several cygnets. Nine cygnets, from different family groups, recently received the lightweight, solar and battery powered collars. The collars collect hourly readings that will be downloaded twice a day, dependent on cell phone coverage. The initial cygnet group includes 5 females and 4 males.
Tyler Harms (above left) and Dr. Stephen Dinsmore (center) are leading the research. The collars will be used for one to three years or until they cease functioning. The research will collect data about summering and wintering areas, roosting sites, feeding patterns, migrations, and possibly differences in movement behaviors between females and males.
TTSS is proud to be a funding partner of this research project.
Moving Oregon swans to safer waters. Photo courtesy of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Click on the photo to see the video
A September update from one of our partners in the Oregon Restoration Project- The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW):
"There are an estimated 30-40 Trumpeter swans that spend their summers in Oregon. So when a pair of swans, one wild-born from Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and one captive born from Wyoming, both translocated to Summer Lake, began migrating to a private ranch along the upper Crooked River, hopes were high the pair would successfully contribute to the small population of the majestic swans in Oregon."
"Sadly, their nesting attempts have failed the last couple of years, likely due to predation. It takes anywhere from 90 to 122 days from hatching until swan cygnets can fly, making them susceptible to predators like coyotes, especially when their water source dries up.
With more water this year, thanks to high snowpack in the mountains, the swans have been able to raise four cygnets to 10-weeks old, just a few weeks shy of being able to fly."
"ODFW biologists worked with the landowners to capture and band the four cygnets."
"Biologists also captured the male swan, who is molting and currently flightless. The swans were moved to a location on the ranch with more water to increase their chances of survival until they are able to fly. The female swan rejoined the others later that same day."
TTSS Past President and Oregon project coordinator, Gary Ivey assisted with the capture of the swan family. The Sabre Ridge Ranch supports excellent wetland habitat and has recently hosted a second non-breeding pair of trumpeters. TTSS is grateful to the ranch owners, the Hamilton family for welcoming the swans to their private property and is looking forward to assisting them in their wetland management for Trumpeter Swans.
National Wildlife Refuges celebrate Refuge Week October 8-14
[Trumpeter swan at Seney NWR photo by M Smith]
Trumpeter Swans at Michigan's Seney National Wildlife Refuge which is hosting special activities during Refuge Week.
Photo by Margaret Smith
Fall is a great season to visit National Wildlife Refuges. Check out some of the fun events planned around the country for Refuge Week, Oct. 8-14.
Locations include refuges in Wisconsin, California, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas
The Madison Valley in Montana is continuing to reintroduce Trumpeter Swans. The Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks "wants to boost swan numbers in the Madison Valley and enhance connectivity between swan habitats."
The Wyoming Wetlands Society (WWS) in Jackson, Wyoming provided the birds for the ongoing Madison reintroduction. According to Bill Long of WWS, the release in early September went well. With this year's release, in September, there were 16 swans recorded along an eleven mile stretch near Ennis, Montana and O'Dell Creek. A another recent success of the program includes a nesting pair two years ago that produced four cygnets.
Trumpeter Swans began migrating to Arkansas two decades ago, not long after Minnesota began its restoration program.
Photo by Larry Jernigan
A couple hundred Trumpeter Swans winter in Heber Springs, Arkansas. The original swans migrated from Minnesota. Wisconsin and Iowa swans followed in later years. Heber Springs is beautifully situated in the rolling hills of Arkansas. Heading south this winter? Check out the swans in Heber Springs!
The article has beautiful photos of the Heber Springs swans, and there is a video as well.
Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge's cygnets take flight in September.
Photo by Carlene Hardt
In our September member newsletter, Trumpetings, we reported that this summer Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge near Spokane, Washington had one nesting pair with 4 cygnets. TTSS member Carlene Hardt reports the cygnets have successfully fledged! That is good news for Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge. Their two other pairs did not nest this year.
Nature 365- "Family breakfast"
August 25, 2017: One minute and 32 second video by Jim Brandenburg's Nature 365 project. Click on the photo to access the video.
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