Why Study Trumpeter Swans
- Trumpeter swans are one of the world’s largest birds. Male swans weigh an average of 28 pounds and have a wingspan of 7 feet.
- Trumpeter swans migrate to Denali’s wetlands each summer from their winter homes along the Pacific Coast. While in the park they find mates, build nests, and raise their young.
- Trumpeter swan population was decimated by humans in the 1800s. Conservation efforts have increased numbers in Denali from 4,170 swans in 1975 to nearly 29,000 swans in 2015.
- Despite a remarkable recovery, trumpeter swans continue to be threatened by habitat loss, human disturbance, and lead poisoning.
Research in the Park
Starting in 1975, and reoccurring every five years, aerial surveys are used to estimate trumpeter swan population in Denali. The latest survey, completed in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and North American Trumpeter Swan Survey, shows a small increase in swan population. This research informs park managers as they plan for Denali’s future. The next survey will happen in 2020.
Conant B and Others. 2007. Alaska trumpeter swan status report 2005. Waterfowl Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Juneau, Alaska
McIntyre C. 2006. Changes in the abundance and distribution of trumpeter swans in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Alaska Park Science. 5(2):24-29