The trumpeter swan is one of Wyoming’s most spectacular but rarest nesting birds. It is the largest waterfowl in North America and was thought be be nearly extinct in the early 1900s, except for a small remnant population in the Yellowstone area. Based on its small population size and its specialized wetland habitat needs it is designated a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in Wyoming. Game and Fish and partners work hard to conserve trumpeter swans and keep it from needing protection under the Endangered Species Act.

To track the year-round resident population, we conduct three aerial surveys in May, July and September in western Wyoming. These surveys provide data on the number of occupied nest sites, the number of nestlings hatched, and the total number of adults and mature young that survive until old enough to fly. Similar information is collected by Idaho and Montana for swans that nest in the Tri-state or Greater Yellowstone area. Data from these surveys are compiled and used by the states, the Pacific Flyway and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine if management objectives are being met, to identify important habitat used by swans, and to develop future conservation actions that will help sustain this small population into the future.  
In fall 2016, we counted a total of 213 adults and 61 cygnets (or young of the year) for a total of 274 swans in Wyoming outside of Yellowstone National Park. The total number of adults is the highest number ever recorded in Wyoming and reflects the success of our Green River range expansion project which began in the early 1990s. At that time, there were no swans nesting in the Green River basin. Now 68% of all adult swans in the state are found there.    
Starting in November, many more migrant trumpeter swans pour into Wyoming from interior Canada; so, we can host 4-5 times more swans in winter compared to summer. So, right now is an excellent time to go out and look for a trumpeter swan.

Susan Patla
Nongame Biologist


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