Trumpeter Swan Restoration Paying Off

📸: Laura Kearns at Big Island wildlife area

Great news! Trumpeter swan restoration efforts are paying off!

Trumpeter swans were once killed for food and skins, first by Native Americans and then by settlers upon arrival on the continent. The plumage trade peaked in the early 1800s and swan populations were dramatically reduced by the mid-1800s. Loss of habitat for this wetland-dependent species resulted in further declines. In 1996, Ohio became one of a number of states involved in reintroduction plans to restore trumpeter swans to the Midwest.

The state-threatened trumpeter swan is found in wetlands in northern, central, and southeastern Ohio. In 2016, the number of breeding pairs increased to 74 pairs, 49 of which were successful. The number of cygnets has also jumped from a low in the 40s in 2012 and 2013, to the highest number ever of 178 in 2016. Possible explanations for these increases include improved control of invasive wildlife species in breeding areas, and above-average spring rainfall in recent years.

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