A Day With The Swans
For immediate release –– A day with the swans
(Orillia, Jan. 17, 2012) – Members of the Twin Lake Conservation Club (TLCC) headed south Jan. 3 to catch a glimpse of the trumpeter swans at LaSalle Park in Burlington.
Along with three volunteers from the Trumpeter Swan Restoration program (TSR), TLCC spent the Tuesday afternoon getting a close look at how TSR volunteers band swans to track its numbers in Ontario – four new swans were tagged.
The program was initiated 35 years ago by retired Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) biologist Harry Lumsden to restore the trumpeter swans, North America’s largest waterfowl, to its common range in the province after eradication for 150 years, says TSR volunteer Beverly Kingdon.
“We consider banding and tagging critical as it provides the opportunity for birders, naturalists and general public across the province to report sightings throughout the summer when these birds are at their secretive remote locations and when they are migrating,” said Kingdon. “This information is important to ensure the health of the flock, the brood sizes at nesting sites and the geographical expansion.”
Kingdon has been volunteering with TSR for 30 years. She started raising cygnet swans from captive pairs for release to the wild and then established an overwintering banding program in Burlington.
“Cygnet swans from captive pairs were hatched from eggs that were sourced from Alaska, Grand Prairie Alberta and the mid-western United States for release to the wild,” said Kingdon.
TSR normally bands 60 new swans each winter, while re-banding 40 swans that lose their wing markers. It relies on 14-16 volunteers for banding and other help as needed on an intermittent basis in Ontario.
Kingdon says the Burlington population ranges between 100-200, but only during the winter months as they leave by March. The Ontario population is approximately 700.
TLCC president Warren Howes said the efforts of Kingdon and volunteers Kyna Intini and Julie Kee are “nothing short of a miracle.”
“Bev and her staff of two volunteers (Kyna and Julie) are to be congratulated for the initiative, the care and the commitment they make every day for the swans,” said Howes. “This is an absolutely beautiful park and such an incredible spectacle with all of the swans and other waterfowl here.”
Besides LaSalle Park, volunteers with TSR tag swans at Bluffer’s Park, Frenchman’s Bay, Sudbury, Washago, Port Credit, North Bay, Wye Marsh, St. Georges and various other locations as opportunities presents itself.
Photo credits: Nathan Howes. Click on images for larger size.