[countybirders] [centralvalleybirds] Whooper Swan Update


John Luther
 

This still does not answer the question of where this swan came from.  Is it legal to have a migratory species like this in captivity?  Do you need permits or papers showing origin?  

John Luther
Oakland 

On Wednesday, April 28, 2021, 6:33:22 PM PDT, John Harris <johnh@...> wrote:


Just being the messenger, please don't shoot!
John Harris
Oakdale

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Chris Ortega <chrisorte9a@...>
Date: Wed, Apr 28, 2021 at 5:58 PM
Subject: [centralvalleybirds] Whooper Swan Update
To: <centralvalleybirds@groups.io>


I just got word form Lathrop Parks and Rec that this is a known captive that was just recently relocated here from another pond that is currently dried out. Apparently his name is Siegfried.


Ralph
 

As they are predominantly Eurasian birds I doubt they are protected under the MBTA. I looked on Google and found a bird farm in Michigan that has them for sale for $1,000-2,000 and another in Wisconsin that has them for $11,250 (quite a difference! but the WI place has them in stock and offers free shipping).

Ralph Baker, Riverbank


Steve Hampton
 

In addition to zoos, there are many private waterfowl collections in the Central Valley-- it's a kind of hobby among some wealthier duck hunters. In addition, it's a bit of a secret circle in that they are pretty private about what they have. 



On Wed, Apr 28, 2021 at 10:15 PM Ralph via groups.io <sharks_hockey_maniac=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
As they are predominantly Eurasian birds I doubt they are protected under the MBTA. I looked on Google and found a bird farm in Michigan that has them for sale for $1,000-2,000 and another in Wisconsin that has them for $11,250 (quite a difference! but the WI place has them in stock and offers free shipping).

Ralph Baker, Riverbank



--
Steve Hampton
Port Townsend, WA
Qatay, S'Klallam territory


Chris Ortega
 

I wanted to have some more concrete information before posting again, but it's taking a while to find, so here's at least a somewhat more complete story. Yesterday morning I called Lathrop Parks and Rec to see if they knew about the swan. They didn't but then called me back while I was driving over there in the early evening. Since I was driving, I didn't ask as many questions as I probably should have, but the message was that this Whooper Swan was one of two captive Whooper Swans who were previously kept at another location. I was told the other of the two died not long ago, and now the pond where they were being kept is dried up for some reason. I was also told that locals (of wherever this first pond is) knew the still-living Whooper Swan as Siegfried.

This morning, I called Lathrop P&R back to ask a few more questions. Apparently, the information they had relayed to me came from a private River Islands Community Facebook page, of which, one of the employees there happened to be a member. The city doesn't actually have anything to do with the swan officially and wouldn't have been able to give me any update had their employee not been a resident in the River islands neighborhood. They said the arrangements with having the swan relocated would have been made by the executives with the River Islands developer. I was given an email address to reach out to them and sent an email at 9:30 this morning. I have not yet heard back from them, so that's the current status. I tried to get what little information out that I had as soon as possible yesterday, and will continue to do so with any interesting developments, but so far that's all I have to report. If this does indeed turn out to be a captive bird, I still don't regret going to see him yesterday. It was a fun excuse to go on a short trip with my family, and the Boathouse Restaurant was really good!

Chris Ortega
Bay Point, CA


Chris Ortega
 

Alright everyone, here's the latest. No one responded to that email I sent, so I eventually found a phone number and was able to contact people at the River Islands development corporate office where, eventually, someone was able to tell me that the swan comes from Priest Ranch Winery, which is on Somerston Estate in Yountville, CA. If you look up information about this, you can find a couple of sources referencing the swans, including one article that claims the female in the pair was dispatched by a mountain lion! This same article explains the swans were brought in originally to deter Canada Geese who were coming in and eating the grapes. Apparently the person who owns the estate also owns this River Islands development company, so when the pond dried up in Yountville, he had the remaining swan moved to his property in Lathrop. It makes sense that someone with enough money to own an estate with a winery in Napa Valley AND and entire neighborhood development company wouldn't balk at a 4-5 figure price tag for the swans. I don't have an explanation for the rust staining on the head, but for my part, I've seen enough to be satisfied that this is not a wild bird, as much as I wish it were. If anyone else wants to take the next steps by reaching out to the winery and trying to find out more about when, why, or how the owner procured them, please feel free, but I'm not interested in digging any further.

Chris Ortega
Bay Point, CA


henry_koertzen@...
 

Thanks for hunting down the information on the swan Chris. It is very interesting to know where it came from. 

What is the procedure for eBird now? Everyone go and delete their sighting?

Henry Koertzen 
Tracy, CA


Chris Ortega
 

Hi Henry,

I'm not the best person to answer this, but since no one else has... My assumption is that the eBird reviewer(s) for San Joaquin county will not confirm this sighting on anyone's checklist. It's up to the individual whether they want to remove it or not since your life list is your own. For example, I choose to leave an unconfirmed sighting of a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in Contra Costa on my list, even though the photos I got of it weren't good enough for the eBird reviewer to confirm the sighting. Others may choose to leave Budgerigar on their lists when they see one around here even though it's essentially guaranteed to be an escaped pet. That said, if anyone searches for confirmed Whooper Swan sightings, this one won't show up, nor will it add to the total number of species seen on this hotspot's checklist. It's also possible that the reviewer(s) may reach out to those who leave it on their list and ask them to remove it (but they'll still get to chose whether they want to do so). I think a fair amount depends on the reviewer(s). So far it looks like several people have removed the swan from their lists, while most others haven't. I think I'll leave my sighting up as "swan sp." just to note he's there unless an eBird reviewer asks me to remove it.

I hope that's at least somewhat helpful.

Chris Ortega
Bay Point, CA