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Trumpeter Swan

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Trumpeter SwansTrumpeter Swans historically bred throughout Alberta. By the early 1900s, however, the entire Canadian population was thought to have been extirpated until 1918 when a small flock was discovered in the Grande Prairie area. Currently in the province, Trumpeter Swans occur in scattered flocks on lakes and marshes in Aspen Parkland and Boreal Mixed-wood forests. Most of Alberta's Trumpeter Swans breed in the Peace River District, in an area that extends 80 kilometres west and north, and 50 kilometres southeast and southwest of the city of Grande Prairie. The distribution in the Grande Prairie area is gradually increasing.

Flocks of Trumpeter Swans have also been located in other areas of the province. In the Peace River and Manning areas, pioneering flocks have been located in the Otter and Russell Lakes area 100 kilometres northeast of Peace River, and along the Chinchaga River northwest of Manning. Other trumpeters have been found near Edson, where they were first recorded in 1978 on Tie Camp Lake. Observations of Trumpeter Swans in the Whitecourt area are possibly an expansion of the flock from the Edson area. Recently, observations of Trumpeter Swans have also increased in the Lac La Biche-St. Paul area. This increase in sightings may be the result of colonization by Trumpeter Swans reintroduced at Elk Island National Park. A small breeding population also occurs in the Cardston-Pincher Creek area near Waterton Lakes National Park.

Most Alberta swans winter in the tri-state area on a 14 kilometre stretch of the Snake River near Harriman State Park in Idaho. Birds released in Elk Island National Park have been observed in central Oregon at Summer Lake and Harney Lake National Wildlife Refuges and the Sacramento Valley in northern California.

Reprinted from Alberta Wildlife Status Report No. 26 (2000), with permission from Alberta Sustainable Resource Development.

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