[CT Birds] Why I include Trumpeter Swan on my state list
Chasbarnard at aol.com
Chasbarnard at aol.com
Tue Mar 30 10:42:44 EDT 2010
Since the rules and reasons for non-acceptance have been put forth, I feel
that it is OK for me to make a case for acceptance of the Trumpeter Swans.
As Nick, Mark and others (all of whom I have a lot of respect for) have
previously said, this is an individual decision anyway.
I think that it is an "apples and oranges" situation when a native
species, reoccupying a portion of it's former range, is compared with a
non-native species which never had a presence in North America (e.g.Monk Parakeet).
Trumpeter Swans migrated from Canada (from both sides of James Bay) to
the Chesapeake Bay area and back for thousands of years before we came along
- no one disputes that. So what do they have to prove about their ability
to adapt to the region and be self-sustaining? They have done it
previously for thousands of years - not just 20 years.
The Ontario reintroduction effort has been going on for about 20 years
anyway ( I remember the Danbury bird from the mid 90's) and has produced a
self-sustaining and expanding population.
Hunting pressure and lead poisoning seem to be the primary reasons that
the Eastern population was eliminated in the first place. It is not as if
they disappeared primarily due to loss of habitat or the inability to compete
against an introduced species taking over the Trumpeter's ecological
niche. Unfortunately, Tundra Swan hunting is apparently still legal in some
states, so that could still pose a major threat to the birds on migration.
(What hunter or birder could consistently distinguish between a flying Tundra
Swan and a flying Trumpeter Swan?)
The Stratford birds appear to be "born in the wild," adult (no mottling on
the black legs) birds. I am of the view (this is supposition) that they
were birds which most likely made the trip to the Chesapeake region (maybe
with Tundra Swans or Snow Geese) and were on the return to Canada when the
strong winds from the West pushed them over us. This happens fairly
frequently with Snow Geese and Tundra Swans. So, they came down to rest and
recover, as many birds pushed a bit off course do.
Last thought: isn't it ironic that we have accepted Barnacle Goose and
Pink-footed Goose, based upon their association with banded Canada Geese from
Greenland (a decision which I agree with), but we don't accept a Trumpeter
Swan, which is a native North American species on the ragged fringes of a
flyway which it has used previously for thousands of years?
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