A Good Spring for Swans

It has been a thrilling spring in the Blackfoot for swan watchers!  There are more trumpeters around than ever, with lots of folks reporting swans in both known sites and new places.  And even more exciting is the fact that we have 13 pairs of swans on territories, and at least 8 of those are nesting!

Some of the swans started incubating the first week in May this year (like many animals and plants, a few weeks earlier than in past years).  The females steadfastly sat through some torrential rain showers and high winds, and our nests have all survived without any flooding or abandonment.

Sharp-eyed community observers have reported pairs of swans in some new territories, including two locations in the Clearwater drainage and one in the Lincoln area.  And during a flight over the area on June 1, Kevin Ertl was able to find a nest in a new territory near the Blackfoot River.

cw nest

Can you spot the tiny white dot in the middle of this photo that is an incubating female swan? Nests are often well hidden and difficult to see!

With the watershed swan population still relatively small, it just takes a little bad luck to slow down progress–like last year when we had several nests but only one cygnet that survived to migrate.  But with these more robust numbers of swans in the watershed,  and so many pairs nesting, it’s much more likely that we will reach our goal soon of at least 7 successful nests to help sustain the population.

Stay tuned for updates as eggs start to hatch!  And feel free to contact me at elaine@blackfootchallenge.org with questions.