Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Trumpeter Swans in CT

On Sunday Brian Webster found 2 TRUMPETER SWANS on the Stratford/Shelton line in CT. Thanks to his prompt notification, I was able to view the birds in the late evening. They're the first Trumpeter Swans I've seen anywhere, and these guys were so close to the road that I was able to study them quite well. Don't let the awful photos below fool you (low light is a killer for digiscoping)...the swans were very close and not at all concerned with me watching them. I was thrilled to view them. Thanks Brian for the good find.

Reports will presumably be submitted to the ARCC for review. This is a tricky situation given that the birds' origin is unknown and overwhelmingly likely to be from the Ontario reintroduction project, and incredibly unlikely to be from the retracted original North American populations. More details about the projects are needed. It might be tempting to count this species on my life/state lists, but without more information I am currently not at all comfortable doing so.

If you have seen these birds, and have done some research on their re-introduced populations, please submit a written report to the ARCC. Your contributions are needed!







- NB

3 comments:

  1. yes you are right! birding is great. in fact I am heading from Australia to England to spend a couple of weeks doing just that!

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  2. What is the deal on reintroduced birds?

    I "count" (probably not the right word) peregrine falcons all the time - no doubt some (Providence and Bristol pairs) are hacked birds or from hacked heritage.

    My personal thought is that this is awesome, as a magnificent bird may be coming back - even with human assistance - and who cares if it is ABA countable.

    Also, get over to RI whenever you have time - nothing really rare (kite nonewithstanding) but some good stuff around.

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  3. Hey Eric, (I know you know most/all of this but I'm posting in case others are wondering)

    Good to hear from ya. The ABA deal with reintroduced birds is that the population must be self-sustaining for 15+ years, among other things. Their website has the full criteria:
    http://www.aba.org/checklist/exotics.html

    The Trumpeter situation is different from the Peregrines because, in the case of the swans there is no residual population anywhere near here. So there is pretty much zero chance that these birds are from the far pacific northwest. They are almost certainly from one of the reintroduced populations, which has only been self-sustaining for a short time according to the projects themselves (at least the Ontario breeders, which occur in western NY in good numbers and are extremely likely the origin of the CT pair).

    Most people use ABA's unifying rules to maintain their lists, and many committees use similar criteria to accept a species to the state list.

    A couple folks have voiced that they're putting the swans on their state list largely because of their former range, which extended well south and east of their current range (just how far south and east is a matter of debate). To me, that doesn't change the fact that this is 100% a human-made population, and the rules of self-sustainability should still apply. So they remain off my CT and life lists. Hopefully they remain established on their own, and sometime in the future I'll count the species when I see them then.

    But all that crap aside about lists, it wasn't going to keep me from going to see them now! You're right...they are magnificent birds and I was thrilled to view them. Who cares about who counts them and who doesn't...they're pretty sweet birds.

    I'd love to get to RI but I'm guessing it will be a while. I'm sure I'll get to the Charlestown Breachway during the summer. Maybe then we can meet up, although you'll be graduated by then.

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