- Associated Press - Saturday, October 31, 2015

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - The number of resident trumpeter swans in Wyoming is soaring thanks to efforts expanding habitat in the southwest part of the state, a state biologist said.

Wyoming Game and Fish Department surveys this fall found 277 swans outside of Yellowstone National Park, a number that sets the modern high mark and is 27 percent above last year’s levels.

“The number of birds in the Green River is where we’re seeing all the growth,” Game and Fish nongame biologist Susan Patla said.

This year, 20 nest sites were discovered in the Green River drainage, up from 13 a year ago. Fifty-five baby swans, called cygnets, were reared.

“What we see pretty consistently is we have more nest sites and more new nest sites,” Patla said of the Green River population.

Human-created habitats explain why many swans have relocated near the Green River. A million dollars in investments and grants have produced 60 new acres of wetlands and ponds that help to support trumpeters, Patla told the Jackson Hole News & Guide (https://bit.ly/1OaGZGh).

Patla said other areas of western Wyoming, such as Teton County, could use more man-made ponds.

The records aren’t very good, but Patla said that before Jackson Hole was developed wetlands were likely much more abundant because there were more beavers and no dikes or dams on the Snake River.

“We’ve had about the same number of swans in the Jackson area since the late ‘80s,” Patla said. “If we want to increase numbers of nesting pairs, we really have to think about creating additional habitat.”

An increasing population won’t happen overnight. Trumpeter swans don’t nest until they’re about 5 years old, and ponds take five to 10 years to develop into a good swan habitat, Patla said.

“Working with swans, you have to have lot of patience and a lot of persistence,” she said.

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Information from: Jackson Hole (Wyo.) News And Guide, https://www.jhnewsandguide.com

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