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Posted on April 9th, 2024 in Alert, Forestry, How To, Wildlife | No Comments »

Wild Bulletin, Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Fish and Wildlife: March is the beginning of peak nesting season for Indiana’s state-endangered trumpeter swan. During the nesting season, it is possible to see trumpeter swans in the northern third of the state, especiallymute swan Lake, Laporte, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, and St. Joseph counties, where they have ample habitat. Hunted to near extinction in the 1900s, the species has made great strides in population numbers, largely due to the passage of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Large, open bodies of shallow water with abundant aquatic plants are the preferred habitat of trumpeter swans, and there is potential to see the number of trumpeters increase in northern Indiana; however, the species’ recovery in Indiana isn’t out of the water yet.

Loss of habitat is the No. 1 reason for species decline across the globe, with the presence of invasive species being the second largest reason. Invasive mute swans throughout Indiana pose a threat to trumpeter swans. Mute swans are an aggressive bird that can negatively impact trumpeter swans through direct killing of adults and their young, outcompeting them for available nesting spaces, and destroying the vegetation on our bodies of water. Managing mute swans has been shown to be an effective method for increasing trumpeter swans in other states.

Use these helpful tips to distinguish between the native trumpeter swan and the invasive mute swan:

  • Trumpeter swans have black bills and legs. Mute swans have orange bills with black knobs.
  • Trumpeter swans hold their necks straight when swimming in water and flying. Mute swans hold their necks in an “S” shape.
  • Trumpeter swan numbers increase in winter in southwest Indiana and in the spring can be more common in the northern third of Indiana. Mute swans can occur statewide but are more common in the north.

Learn more about our endangered wildlife or find more information on mute swan management on our website.

To learn more about mute swans and their impact, please visit Indiana Department of Natural Resources: Mute Swans.

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