Turnbull trumpeter swans come and go; another cygnet missing

A trumpeter swan cygnet makes its first flight on Oct. 7 at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge (Carlene Hardt)
A trumpeter swan cygnet makes its first flight on Oct. 7 at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge (Carlene Hardt)

WILDLIFE WATCHING — Life has been more complicated for this year's brood of trumpeter swans at Turnbull National Wildlife refuge.

In the three years since Solo the geriatric trumpter finally found a mate after decades of lonesomeness and revived trumpeter family life at the refuge, cygnet survival has been good.

This year, two of five cygnets did not live long enough to fledge.

A third has been missing this week.

Here's the latest report from refuge wildlife biologist Mike Rule:

We have been seeing migrant swans moving through the area mostly Tundras. Several have been on Philleo Lake and a small pond north of Rupp Road just off of Cheney Spangle. Although we do get some trumpeters there are usually less than a dozen.

The seven that (refuge visitors saw last week) may be this year's brood and their parents and sub adults from a previous years brood. I have only been seeing the two cygnets with the adult nesting pair recently. The third cygnet fledged, but it did much later then the first two, and it was straggling when I saw them all together two weeks ago.

We are going to try and get a full count of swans on the refuge this week.


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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog

Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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