It is the opposite of a swan song for the Trumpeter Swan in Ontario.
The Ontario Trumpeter Swan Restoration Group (OTSRG) has been attempting to restore the species to Ontario for more than 30 years.
Early Jesuit missionaries recorded sightings of Trumpeter Swans in their diaries. Due to overhunting in the 1800s, the swans completely disappeared from the province.
In 1986, Harry Lumsden, an employee of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, began efforts to bring the swans back to Ontario using eggs obtained from Wisconsin and Alaska. Through cooperation with volunteers and property owners, OTSRG has released approximately 500 Trumpeter Swans into the wild across Ontario and through natural reproduction, the population has grown to approximately 2,500 to 3,000.
“They’re finding their own habitat,” said Susan Best of OTSRG.
The organization wants people to report sightings of Trumpeter Swans in their communities. There are swans that have been tagged and banded by OSTRG, but there are also ones without tags or bands – which means they are likely the offspring of birds with tags and bands. Each tag and band includes an identification number.
“It’s really citizen scientists we’re looking for,” Best said.
All sightings are recorded in a database. The entire project is managed by volunteers and receives no funding from the Ministry of Natural Resources, but it does operate according to wildlife management laws set by the province and the federal Canadian Wildlife Service.
In the easternmost region of Ontario, OTSRG has not banded or tagged any swans. However, Best said that does not mean there are no Trumpeter Swans around.
“We definitely have sightings in the eastern sections of Ontario.”
An untagged Trumpeter Swan was sighted in May 2021 at Evanturel on Baie des Atocas, which is part of the Ottawa River in Alfred and Plantagenet.
Trumpeter Swans have black bills, unlike Mute Swans which have orange bills. Mute Swans are actually not native to North America and are considered an invasive species.
To report Trumpeter Swan sightings, go to https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScgZbszLDLhb6Fd6gYfgf6atVFLVb7-SJxPPbRtaadolPQXAg/viewform .
Follow the Ontario Trumpeter Swan Restoration Group on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/259764354096464 .