Saving Wildlife and Wild Places 2016

Access digital copies of guides and regulations publications from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Issue link: http://digital.outdoornebraska.gov/i/636900

Contents of this Issue


Page 2 of 7

A mated pair of trumpeter swans (Cygnus buccinator) stand over their nest filled with cygnets near Whitman in Grant County. s we busted through the thick cattail and bulrush, we were instantly surprised as the family group of trumpeter swans was right in front of us. The surprise appeared mutual, as the swans hesitated for a moment – I'm sure wondering just where the heck the big airboat had come from – and then swiftly scattered in different directions. We swung the airboat around in pursuit, and went after one of the adults. He managed to juke us once, but on the second pass, I managed to swing the dip net over his head and we had him captured. The capture of this trumpeter swan was part of a project examining swan movements from breeding or post-breeding wetlands to fall staging and winter grounds, and any possible movements between wintering areas. Additionally, little is known about swan fidelity to wintering and breeding sites. Information obtained from the study will assist managers in conserving habitat in Nebraska's Sandhills for trumpeter swans, a Tier 1 species in the Nebraska Natural Legacy Project. The project began in July 2014, when three adult female swans were captured and fitted with neck collars that also had an attached Global Positioning System (GPS), solar powered- satellite transmitter. The project in July and August 2015 with the capture of an additional 12 swans (9 females and 3 males) to be fitted with the special neck collars. The GPS attachment allows for accurate locations of swans as they move about on the marshes where they were captured, but also as they move to and while on wintering areas and back. The birds captured in 2014 remained near their breeding wetlands through the summer and early fall, until mid-November, when a severe cold front had pushed through the region, and they then moved to their respective wintering rivers and creeks. Each swan chose a different river or creek in which to winter, which included the North Platte River, Birdwood Creek, and the South Loup River. The females moved an average of 70 miles to reach wintering areas. The females returned to their respective breeding wetlands in early February and resided on or near their breeding wetlands throughout February, March and April. ✔ Mark Vrtiska, Ph.D., Waterfowl Program Manager, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission PHOTO BY BOB GRIER 3 s we b catta ins g right in front A

Articles in this issue

view archives of OutdoorNebraska - Saving Wildlife and Wild Places 2016