Date of this Version
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Migratory Birds and State Programs Mountain-Prairie Region Lakewood, Colorado.
Observers counted 5,361 swans (white birds and cygnets) in the Rocky Mountain Population of trumpeter swans during February 2005, an increase of 17% from the 4,584 counted in February 2004 and the second consecutive record-high count for the Mid-winter Survey. The numbers of white birds (4,206) and cygnets (1,155) increased 10% and 53%, respectively, from counts last year. In the tri-state area, increases in total swans occurred in Idaho (+20%) and Wyoming (+25%), but decreased slightly in Montana (-7%). The number of birds wintering in areas near restoration flocks was higher than counts in recent years, largely due to more complete survey coverage in the Summer Lake WMA this winter. However, counts at Malheur NWR remained near historic lows, and the count at Ruby Lake NWR was the lowest since 1995. Drought conditions persisted in much of the tri-state area, and reservoir levels in early February remained among the lowest recorded for that time of year. Generally, temperatures during winter 2004-05 were slightly warmer than average, with short periods of cool temperatures in December. Temperatures were colder than average in western Wyoming and southern Idaho during February, but warmer than average in Montana. Precipitation in primary winter areas was well below average from December 2004 through February 2005.