Ontario’s Trumpeter swans – why are they tagged and banded?

Please enjoy some shots of individuals and mated pairs of Trumpeter swans, which I took while hiking with K2, the great white Kuvasz, in Hendrie Valley Wildlife Sanctuary and LaSalle Park in Burlington and in Lakefront Promenade Park in Mississauga.

These big birds can fly
These big birds can fly

What are those tags for?

There are more than 1,000 trumpeters in Ontario that headed north last month (March 2019), many to raise their next brood. Many of the Trumpeter Swans in Ontario are leg-banded with a metal band and identified with large plastic yellow wing-tags with a three-digit code on it. The side of the wings and the legs on which they are put is dependent on the bird gender. All the swan sightings are sent to the Trumpeter Swan Restoration Program volunteers and they are entered into a database. This information is used in order to help estimate the population size, determine their range and keep track of patterns in migration.

A brief history

The last wild trumpeter swan in Ontario was recorded shot in 1886. Today, the breeding program of these birds is a success story. The Ontario reintroduction effort started in 1982 with wild collected eggs from Alberta, which were placed under mute swans, a related species, to hatch. In the fall, the fledglings would be relocated for the winter and then released in suitable places in the spring. In 1993, swans hatched in the wild in Ontario for the first time in more than a century.

These guys can really fly

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