|Written by Catherine Lorenz|
|Friday, 29 June 2012 17:38|
If you’ve visited recently you may have seen our newest additions – two Trumpeter Swan cygnets on the lagoon! The eggs hatched on Monday evening, the 18th. The cygnets are staying close to their protective parents, and haven’t left the lagoon.
Trumpeter Swans are the largest waterfowl species native to North America. These sizeable birds were once widespread throughout the continent, but were reduced to small pockets of land in the northern United States and into Canada due to European settlers and the fur trade. At one point there were only 69 recorded individuals. Population growth of this species is sometimes slow because of their delayed maturation, long lifespan, and single broods. Luckily, their numbers have increased in recent years thanks to conservation efforts such as protection from hunting, habitat management, and range expansion programs. One such conservation effort was constructed at the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary.
In 1989, the Sanctuary began importing Trumpeter Swan eggs from Alaska. The swan population in Alaska was flourishing, so biologists collected eggs from nests, always leaving two viable eggs for the Alaskan pair to raise. The collected eggs were carefully transported to the Sanctuary and reared in captivity until they were old enough to be released into the wild. The program was a huge triumph, with a 90 percent success rate according to wildlife biologist Joe Johnson. The population has been growing in recent years, with a higher birth rate than death rate.
We now have an abundance of Trumpeter Swans at the sanctuary, including these two new cygnets! Stop by the lagoon and see them for yourself!