Seeking Trumpeter Swan Sightings

Ruth Shea

This winter The Trumpeter Swan Society (TTSS) is working to document all reports of Trumpeter Swans migrating or wintering in Idaho outside of their regular use areas of eastern Idaho. Management efforts are continuing to encourage Trumpeters to reoccupy historic migration and winter habitats outside of Greater Yellowstone. Population security would be improved if greater numbers could establish secure use of suitable wintering sites elsewhere in Idaho.

Observations seem to be increasing across southcentral and southwestern Idaho. We are hopeful that some Trumpeter groups will be able to establish regular use of suitable sites, particularly along the Snake River corridor westward from American Falls Dam.

Last winter 31 adults and 10 cygnets were documented in early February along the Snake River corridor from American Falls Dam west to CJ Strike Reservoir. In addition, another group of 57 adults and 19 cygnets was wintering at Silver Creek near Picabo. We are hopeful that numbers may increase this winter. We also would like to increase our knowledge of migrants passing through northern Idaho.

TTSS would appreciate your help so that we can better understand how many Trumpeters are moving through in migration and how many distinguishable families/groups are remaining for substantial portions of the winter.

You can help by:
1. sending me details of any verified Trumpeter sightings outside of eastern Idaho. If ID is questionable, contact me ASAP and we'll send a volunteer out as quick as possible to try to verify species ID. We have some very good ID information on our website

2. In areas where Trumpeters seem to linger, I'd like to recruit some regular observers to help keep track of the swans through the winter (how long they stay, what habitat they are using for feeding, loafing and security, any mortalities or problems observed, etc.)

3. Let me know if you can confidently ID Trumpeters (or obtain good photos) and would like to help verify sightings when needed). It would be nice to have a list of a experienced swan observers who I could contact and who could repond quickly.

4. Send me records of verified Trumpeter observations from the past 5 winters outside of eastern Idaho so we can map them and start to figure out if any sites get repeated use. If someone has this type of detailed information already assembled, PLEASE get in touch.

So far, the only observation I have heard about this fall was a pair on Lake Lowell on November 13 seen by Jim Holcomb and Cheryl Huizinga. If there have been subsequent sightings of this pair or other Trumpeters, please let me know.

Thanks for your help

Ruth Shea

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