[CT Birds] Trumpeter Swan countability

Nick Bonomo nbonomo at gmail.com
Mon Mar 29 18:40:28 EDT 2010


A couple people have inquired about whether the 2 Trumpeter Swans in
Stratford, or the 7 Trumpeters from early 2007 along the CT River, are
countable or not.

Assuming these birds are from the re-introduced Ontario stock, right
now the short answer is no. But you are the keeper of your own list,
not the ARCC (Avian Records Committee of CT) nor the ABA (American
Birding Association) etc etc. For instance, I know there are some
folks out there with good reason that have birds on their CT list that
were not accepted by the ARCC (generally a careful group, as it should
be) and vice versa. So the below are only guidelines for birders.

It should be noted that New York, the state in which many of these
Ontario-breeding Trumpeter Swans spend the winter, does NOT have
Trumpeter Swan on the state list. Why? This is for good reason...the
population is small and has not been established for very long...so
there has to be some doubt as to how the population would endure a few
consecutive poor breeding seasons without human assistance.

For the ABA's guidelines on exotic populations, read here:

It should also be noted that some introduced bird populations that
were actually deemed "countable" by the ABA after 10+ years of
existence have since proven to not be so persistent and have
disappeared. Oops! It's really difficult to tell when a particular
species should be "countable" or not.

I'm in no way an expert on introduced species or the processes
described by the ABA, but I thought it might shed some light on the

Here is a link to part of the Ontario project:

Knowing all this, I was still very happy to go see the Trumpeter Swans
myself...great birds. Their close distance from the road is allowing
us the opportunity to study these beasts, which are easily confused
with the very similar, but more expected Tundra Swan. Thanks for the
find, Brian!

Nick Bonomo
Wallingford, CT

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