Whooper Swan, SJ CO. 4/27/21


Frances Oliver
 

Details: 
This afternoon I received an interesting Ebird sighting for SJ Co of a WHOOPER SWAN! This sighting was reported by Henry Koetzen @ River Island Park, an area located between Lathrop & Tracy. So I decided to go see this swan for myself after receiving a phone call from John Luther that it was still there. 

When I arrived John had it in view. Originally, it had been in the water accompanied by 2 Canada Geese. Now it was resting on the shoreline. This swan had a rusty head, large bill, with the yellow extending from the base of the bill almost to the tip. When it stood, no leg band or neck band was noted. It flapped its wing and called when I accidentally approached to closely. Wings appear to be intact. It took a few steps, with a very awkward gait; is it injured? Or just unsteady due to the slope? So where did it come from? Is it an escapee? It seems to be the wrong time of the year to have one in SJ County, plus I don’t think we have many, if any records.

According to accepted records by the CBRC, No records are usually seen past March 10, which is also reflective of the Tundra Swans in the state. The late date alone presents a problem to it being a wild bird, plus this bird being a lone individual. It would be interesting to find out if there are records of Lone individuals.  And many are now to be kept in captivity. So who know? 

An interesting bird, that’s for sure. It took me away from yard work 🤣



PS; thanks goes to David Yee for the info on CBRC records. 

Frances
Lodi, CA 



Andy Engilis
 

All -- There is some discussion if the Whooper Swan currently in San Joaquin County is an escapee vs wild bird and of course that is always an issue with vagrant waterfowl.  However, if this bird is injured or sick, it could very well be a straggler, incapable of migrating away when the Tundra Swans left the region.  It now is trying to survive which may account for its current condition.  Loners found well past the time of wintering or migration is not all that uncommon for swans and geese in the Central Valley.  Therefore, the timing of the observation may not be relevant  to determine if it is an escapee vs wild bird.  I note that the rust staining of the feathers is usually attained by swans and geese from arctic areas where iron rich wetlands affect feathers.  It is not a common plumage aberration from captive birds.

 

Also, Whooper Swans are not common in captivity, their cost to obtain one legally for zoos and private ponds is extremely high (several thousands of dollars).

 

Just adding to the discussion -- Andy

 

 

Andrew Engilis, Jr.

Curator

Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology

Dept of Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology

One Shield Avenue

University of California

Davis, CA 95616

USA

 

Office Phone:  530-752-0364

Cell: 530-902-1881

FAX: 530-752-4154

E-mail:  aengilisjr@...

Website:  http://mwfb.ucdavis.edu

 

From: centralvalleybirds@groups.io <centralvalleybirds@groups.io> On Behalf Of Frances Oliver via groups.io
Sent: Tuesday, April 27, 2021 8:53 PM
To: SJ Birds <SJBirds@groups.io>; CV Birds <centralvalleybirds@groups.io>; County Birds <countybirders@groups.io>
Subject: [centralvalleybirds] Whooper Swan, SJ CO. 4/27/21

 

Details: 

This afternoon I received an interesting Ebird sighting for SJ Co of a WHOOPER SWAN! This sighting was reported by Henry Koetzen @ River Island Park, an area located between Lathrop & Tracy. So I decided to go see this swan for myself after receiving a phone call from John Luther that it was still there. 



When I arrived John had it in view. Originally, it had been in the water accompanied by 2 Canada Geese. Now it was resting on the shoreline. This swan had a rusty head, large bill, with the yellow extending from the base of the bill almost to the tip. When it stood, no leg band or neck band was noted. It flapped its wing and called when I accidentally approached to closely. Wings appear to be intact. It took a few steps, with a very awkward gait; is it injured? Or just unsteady due to the slope? So where did it come from? Is it an escapee? It seems to be the wrong time of the year to have one in SJ County, plus I don’t think we have many, if any records.



According to accepted records by the CBRC, No records are usually seen past March 10, which is also reflective of the Tundra Swans in the state. The late date alone presents a problem to it being a wild bird, plus this bird being a lone individual. It would be interesting to find out if there are records of Lone individuals.  And many are now to be kept in captivity. So who know? 



An interesting bird, that’s for sure. It took me away from yard work 🤣







PS; thanks goes to David Yee for the info on CBRC records. 

Frances

Lodi, CA