The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has announced an effort to better track migration routes for trumpeter swans and identify winter habitats.

The effort pairs the DNR with the Great lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, other Great Lakes states and the Canadian province of Manitoba. Together, they hope to place 100 GPS collars on trumpeter swans. The collars will allow scientists to track the swans’ movement, including where they spend their winters.

Officials hope the data will also help identify patterns for how the swans select habitat year-round, as well as create better estimates of the birds’ survival rates. It could also help establish breeding rates with other groups in cases where the interior population of swans, the ones being collared with this project, overlap with other populations.

Trumpeter swans are the largest waterfowl species in North America, weighing 20 to 30 pounds and with wingspans that can exceed seven feet. Conservation efforts since the 1980s have helped the population rise to more than 30,000 and improve the outlook for the once-endangered species.

Recommended for you