Conservation Efforts – Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter SwanLoaned Trumpeter Swan Aids in Conservation Efforts

Offspring Shipped to Iowa for Release in the Wild

It’s a heartwarming story with a tear-jerker ending, a tale of natural succession in the vein of Charlotte’s Web.

Last year, Bird Keepers, shipped an aged Trumpeter Swan living out his twilight years as a bachelor at the Birmingham Zoo off to Memphis with the hope and a prayer that he would contribute to a breeding program. Some wondered if the transfer was worth the effort given the swan’s age – he was older than Methuselah.

The nay-sayers were proven wrong on June 11, though, when to the surprise and delight of everyone, the ancient swan became a father. Three chicks hatched in their exhibit, delighting visitors who watched them grow from day to day. November 4, the birds were shipped from Memphis to Des Moines, Iowa as part of the Trumpeter Swan Restoration Program.

The Trumpeter Swan Restoration Program was created in 1993 and has introduced 500 birds back into the wild in Iowa. There were 13 nesting pairs of the birds in the state in 2003, and the program’s goal is to have 25 pairs by 2006. While the birds once flourished, their numbers have dwindled because of wetland drainage and unregulated hunting.

"Part of being successful in conservation includes returning animals to the wild when possible,” said Tim Snyder, the curator of birds for the Birmingham Zoo." And this is a perfect example of that."

Trumpeter swans are white with long necks and black beaks and are named for the "trumpeting" sound they make. Trumpeter swans are the largest swan in North America, weighing between 20 and 30 pounds. Their wingspan can reach up to eight feet.

Sadly, Birmingham’s Trumpeter Swan died of natural causes before his chicks departed for Iowa. But before succumbing to old age, Birmingham’s Trumpeter Swan left a bit of himself behind and made a real contribution to his species.

Other Conservation Efforts

Zoo Sends Crane Eggs to Russia