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Wed., Feb. 19, 2014, 12:32 p.m.

13 trumpeter swans scoping open water at Turnbull Refuge

Trumpeter swans that hatched in spring of 2013 at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge were strong and playful on Nov. 1, 2013. (Carlene Hardt)
Trumpeter swans that hatched in spring of 2013 at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge were strong and playful on Nov. 1, 2013. (Carlene Hardt)

WILDLIFE WATCHING -- For 22 years through 2009, only one trumpeter swan reliably returned to Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge each winter or spring -- whenever enough open water was exposed by ice thawing at the headquarters-area ponds.

Now the legacy of Solo, the lone male trumpeter that finally found love in 2009, lives on in at least a baker's dozen.

Nesting is likely.  Broods usually hatch around Father's Day.

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

We watched 13 swans  flying down the creek in front of the office this morning .  They landed on Winslow Pond and Middle Pine.    There were

5 cygnets  and 9 adults. 

Four of the adults are likely the 2 breeding pairs from last year.  The age of  other  5 adults is unknown. They could be any combination of the 9 swans fledged in 2009, 2010, or 2012.   We potentially have four unaccounted for breeding age swans from Solo's 2 broods.  Hopefully we'll get another nesting pair established this year.

This same group was seen for a couple days in mid-January during a short thaw.

 




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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