[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?
Charlie Barnard

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