One of the things I’m most excited about these days is the work the Ricketts Conservation Foundation is doing to support wildlife and wilderness areas. And one of our most important current initiatives is The Swan Project, a multi-year partnership between The Ricketts Conservation Foundation and The Wyoming Wetlands Society to increase the number of Trumpeter Swans in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem.
An important component of any research effort is to learn from other researchers who are working in your field. In October, Walter Wehtje represented the WWS-RCF Partnership at the 6th International Swan Symposium, held in Tartu, Estonia. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet researchers from 17 countries, ranging from Iceland to China.
On Monday September 10th, the partnership released eight Trumpeter Swan cygnets into Yellowstone National Park. Four birds were released at Elk Antler Creek on The Yellowstone River and four were released at Seven-Mile Bridge on the Madison River, halfway between West Yellowstone and Madison Junction.
With the end of summer approaching (there’s a winter weather advisory in effect for much of Northwest Wyoming right now), it’s time to ready nine of this year’s cygnets for release into Yellowstone National Park. Like the majority of waterfowl, migration is a learned behavior for Trumpeter Swans. Young birds follow their parents to the wintering grounds in the fall and then return to the place where they learned to fly the following spring.