Another milestone came in the Blackfoot Trumpeter Swan Reintroduction Program this month, as the cygnets hatched last spring began to fly.
A pair of swans that nested in the Ovando-Helmville area hatched out an amazing 6 eggs this year. One cygnet disappeared shortly after hatching, but the remaining 5 survived into October. The family began to be sighted at various wetlands in the area by local human residents in early October. However, only 4 of the cygnets have been seen with their parents since leaving the wetland where they were hatched. At this point we don’t know if the fifth cygnet is still alive and just not flying yet, became separated from the rest of its family somehow, or has died.
A pair that nested northwest of Ovando has 2 cygnets, and this family has been seen visiting new wetlands in the area as well. Having at least 6 more cygnets reach the point of flying is an important boost to our local swan population.
The groups of young swans released last spring and summer have scattered into the valley now that they can fly, some joining up with older pairs to explore new wetlands. With the first real snowfall of the season, the large white birds have become a little harder to spot!
Remember, you can see an interactive map of where Blackfoot swans have been most recently sighted at the Adopt-A-Swan website and follow the movements of individual swans there as well.
Thanks very much to everyone who has reported their sightings!