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Trumpeter Swan Management
Trumpeter Swan Surveys
The Refuge conducts two major trumpeter swan aerial surveys (in the fall and mid-winter) covering the tri-state areas of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. The Fall Trumpeter Swan Survey of the U.S. Flocks is an expanded version of the Tri-State Trumpeter Swan survey which was an annual fall survey conducted between 1967 and 1991 (triennial 1968-1982) by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This survey of the U.S. flocks within the Rocky Mountain population is a cooperative effort between Red Rock Lakes NWR, Southeast Idaho Refuge Complex, Malheur NWR, Ruby Lake NWR, Benton Lake NWR, Seedskadee NWR, Idaho Department of Fish & Game, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, Blackfeet Tribal Fish and Wildlife Department, and other regional wildlife management agencies, Parks, and Forests.
The primary purposes of the survey are to document the size of the U.S. trumpeter swan flocks and to enumerate the annual production of cygnets to fledgling age. The survey also provides some information on territorial occupancy and the distribution of failed breeders and non-breeders from year to year.
In response to the summer and winter range expansion programs, the Tri-State Survey was expanded to include all trumpeter swan flocks within the Rocky Mountain Population that summer in the continental U.S. The expanded survey includes: the Eastern Rocky Mountain Front in Montana; Gray's Lake NWR, the Bear River, and lower Snake River in Idaho; Ruby Lake NWR in Nevada; Malheur NWR and Summer Lake WA in Oregon; and the Salt, Wind, and Green Rivers in Wyoming. Because "Tri-state" no longer adequately describes the area surveyed, the survey's name has been changed to "Trumpeter Swan Survey of the Rocky Mountain Population/U.S. Flocks".
The Mid-Winter Trumpeter Swan Survey is an annual survey conducted in late January or early February; it is intended to provide a total count of the entire Rocky Mountain population. The Mid-Winter survey is the best way to census and determine the distribution of the entire wintering population. It provides essential data for waterfowl managers in three provinces of Canada and five U.S. states, as well as numerous other administrative entities. The 1998 Mid-Winter Survey counted 2,189 swans.
Trumpeter Swan Banding
In addition to the two annual aerial surveys, Refuge staff participate in banding of adult and juvenile (cygnets) trumpeter swans. During summer fledging, adult swans are checked for health status, weighed, sexed, and banded, and previously banded swans band numbers are recorded. Refuge staff band cygnets in the fall, before they are flighted.
Trumpeter swan management in the tri-state area is conducted under guidelines set forth in the Rocky Mountain Population Management Plan, recently revised. For additional information on trumpeter swan management, see the Rocky Mountain Trumpeter Swan Range Expansion Program in the Trumpeter Swan Webpage and the USFWS Migratory Bird Program.