Some of the Blackfoot trumpeters released this spring and summer have begun taking wing! Several of our young birds have left their release sites and taken their first flights, trying out their wings as means of transportation for the first time. Appropriately cautious, they have not yet gone far. They are simply hopping from wetland to wetland in the Ovando area, exploring new waters. Satellite radios on a few of them tell us where some are going, and we are sometimes able to go to the sites shown by the satellite locations and check on the birds directly. We have found that some are traveling in small groups, while others have flown by themselves to join swans at other wetlands.

This is an important time for these young swans, as they explore new territory and find out that they can move around under their own power. It is also a potentially dangerous time as they must avoid threats like power lines, fences, and other obstructions, learn how to land and take off safely, avoid predators in new sites, and interact with other swans, all while strengthening their flying muscles and improving their flight skills. But this learning period will be vital to their success as they begin to migrate south for the first time in a few short weeks!

If you observe swans during this time, especially if they are in places you don’t usually see them, please report your observations on the website. This could be important information and help us keep track of these young and now mobile birds!