Outdoors

Two trumpeter swan broods hatch at Turnbull Refuge

Cygnet-ure arrival: Trumpeter swans are back in a family way at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge this week. This photo shows the female rising above a newly hatched fifth cygnet on Thursday morning as two siblings look on from the nest. Her new mate had been across Middle Pine Lake, but brought two other cygnets hatched this week across the pond to take a look at the new arrival, the last of the five eggs to hatch. The female mated in 2009 with the late Solo, the male trumpeter who faithfully returned to Turnbull for two decades as a widower before finding a breeding female and ending Turnbull’s drought of trumpeter production. Solo and his new mate raised broods in 2009 and 2010. They returned last year, but Solo disappeared before they could mate, ending what biologists estimate was a remarkable 35- to 48-year tenure at the refuge. (Rich Landers)
Cygnet-ure arrival: Trumpeter swans are back in a family way at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge this week. This photo shows the female rising above a newly hatched fifth cygnet on Thursday morning as two siblings look on from the nest. Her new mate had been across Middle Pine Lake, but brought two other cygnets hatched this week across the pond to take a look at the new arrival, the last of the five eggs to hatch. The female mated in 2009 with the late Solo, the male trumpeter who faithfully returned to Turnbull for two decades as a widower before finding a breeding female and ending Turnbull’s drought of trumpeter production. Solo and his new mate raised broods in 2009 and 2010. They returned last year, but Solo disappeared before they could mate, ending what biologists estimate was a remarkable 35- to 48-year tenure at the refuge. (Rich Landers)

WILDLIFE WATCHING — Trumpeter swans are doubling the fun Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge this summer with two nesting pairs, each of which has hatched a brood of cygnets in the past week.

Just seven years ago, only one trumpeter called Turnbull home. I named him Solo in a column documenting his lonely two decades of seeking a mate.

In 2009, Solo, by then a geriatric swan age 35-48, attracted a viable mate. He sired the first brood of trumpeters on the refuge since his first mate was killed on her nest by a predator in 1988

Solo disappeared two seasons later, but his mate bonded with another male to produce a brood last year.  This year, it appears that one of the birds produced by the swans also has returned with a mate.

Here's today's report from Mike Rule, refuge wildlife biologist:

Both nesting pairs of trumpeters at Turnbull NWR have hatched.  The pair on Cheever Lake  hatched 3 cygnets  on June 13 and the Middle Pine pair hatched 4 cygnets on June 19 or 20.   The female of the Middle Pine pair is likely Solo's (the really old swan) mate who started the ball rolling again in 2009.




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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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