The decades-long effort by conservationists to save and boost trumpeter swans in the Midwest continues to show progress.
A weekly waterfowl survey tallied 4,199 trumpeters on January 4 using wetlands at the Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge in Holt County.
Once almost extinct in the lower 48 states, their numbers are being brought back thanks to wetland and migratory bird conservation efforts.
The 4,199 trumpeter swans counted on January 4 was a new record count for Loess Bluffs, said William Kutosky, refuge manager for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
The refuge’s staff surveys the waterfowl and eagle populations weekly during winter.
A hard freeze of the shallow-water wetlands could prompt the swans to seek open water elsewhere, said Frank Nelson, MDC wetland systems manager.
That could increase the chances they will be spotted at other lakes or rivers with open water or in wetlands further south.