swans, take 2

August 30, 2005

in Birds, Environmental issues, Urban issues

While we’re talking about swans

My mitten-state neighbor TroutGrrrl over at Science and Sarcasm posted on the Michigan DNR’s request for Trumpeter Swan sightings. She gave a little overview and history of the effort to “reintroduce” Trumpeter Swans to Michigan.  This program is not without controversy, because although Trumpeter Swans are native to the U.S., there is no conclusive proof they ever nested in Michigan.  Or anywhere in the eastern U.S., where other states are spending time and resources on “reintroduction” programs.  Trumpeter Swans are even larger than Mute Swans, and raise some of the same concerns.

I can do no better than to refer you to the definitive source of information on this issue, a web site by Bill Whan and Gerry Rising.  There you will find a thorough examination of the evidence on whether this species ever nested in the eastern U.S., including a bibliography, and a discussion on Trumpeter Swans versus Mute Swans, including a piece by Kenn Kaufman called “Bad Ideas in Species Management: Big Ducks in Small Ponds.”  There is also a reprint of a Point/Counterpoint from Birding magazine specifically on the topic “Should Trumpeter Swans be introduced in the eastern United States and Canada?”  Read, and enjoy an analysis of a complex issue!

TroutGrrrl August 30, 2005 at 8:22 pm

Very very cool. I'm a big fan of the 'big picture.' I suspect it would've taken a long time for me to stumble across this info on my own. Your post and the links you've included are the high point of my day.

Is nothing ever as simple as it first appears?

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