Friends of Mac Johnson Wildlife Area - Trumpeter Swans

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** TRUMPETER SWANS - A breeding pair arrived on July 22, 1999. On May 14, 2000 these birds were officially named Mac and Milli and eleven additional swans were released into the reservoir.
A winter photo of the swans was added on January 12, 2001


Learn more about Trumpeter Swans from the following websites:
The Trumpeter Swan Society
Canadian Wildlife Service
Four new swan cygnets were hatched on June 14, 2005.
Devoted parents are Milli and Mac 2

There are now about 45 Trumpeter Swans in the local area.

Update - Unfortunately three of the cygnets were killed by snapping turtles in early July, 2005.

In June 2007, two cygnets (pictured) were hatched and unfortunately killed by natural predators in July, 2007.

Trumpeter swan program gets four new tiny recruits
By DARCY CHEEK

Staff Writer

None, one, two, and four.

The success of the trumpeter swan restoration program at Mac Johnson Wildlife Area has often been measured in terms of disappointment - but not the last three Junes.

Exactly two years to the day that Millie, Mac Johnson's resident female, hatched the first cygnet in the Ontario Trumpeter Swan Restoration Project in the enclosure on the north side of the Back Pond, she and Mac II produced four more cygnets on Tuesday.

"What I found really interesting was the first thing (Millie) did was come over to the nesting platform ... what she refuses to nest on," said an elated Stephan Foerster, area supervisor for the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority.

The four cygnets, hatched around noon on Tuesday, were resting on the platform with their parents as Millie preened and Mac II stood guard.

The 2005 hatch is the most successful since Millie and Mac I were introduced into the area in 1999 as part of the Ontario Trumpeter Swan Restoration Project.

Fraught with one disappointment after another since Millie first laid a clutch of six eggs in 2000, the program had its first success in 2003 when one cygnet emerged from the tall grass with Millie.

Hope, as the cygnet was later called, was literally a sign of better things to come.

In 2004, Venus and Solaris became the second and third cygnets hatched inside the enclosure and this year the original number was quadrupled.

As he has done since the first clutch of eggs was abandoned by Millie in 2000, Foerster went around the south side of the enclosure to check on Millie's favourite nesting site in the grass near the fence. Six eggs is close to the average for a trumpeter swan clutch and Millie has been on the number most of the time.

"There are two eggs left so (Millie) has been pretty consistent," said Foerster. "She also looks like she's more diligent."

The observations Foerster makes are all important parts of the restoration program, like determining when a female begins to nest - calculating the number of cygnets and remaining eggs, the day of the hatch, 30-day incubation period and two-day per egg laying period.

Foerster will be going on an aerial survey this week to see if Mac and Millie and their four young have any distant cousins out there in the wild that have produced the same significant offspring.

"The aerial survey is used to try and confirm that the three families (found last year) are nesting and to see if any other wild pairs are nesting," said Foerster.

"Last year the wild clutches came in with six (cygnets), five and two," said Foerster. Hopefully, (the 2005 Mac Johnson hatch) is an indicator the wild ones are doing well, too. We've have almost 30 offspring from the program in this area."

The Ontario Trumpeter Swan Restoration Project has been gaining more success in recent years, with more and more sightings of wild breeding pairs building the number toward a self preservation level.

Current figures for 2004 were not available, but in September 2003 the founder of the Ontario Trumpeter Swan Restoration Project, Harry Lumsden, reported an estimate of 482 wild trumpeters in Ontario. Earlier that year, after being contacted about Mac Johnson's first successful hatch, Lumsden said a self-sustaining population might be reached when the program estimated 500 birds.

  • Published in Section A, page 1 in the Wednesday, June 15, 2005 edition of the Brockville Recorder & Times.
  • Posted 4:30:12 PM Wednesday, June 15, 2005.

    New swan cygnets were hatched on June 8, 2004. Devoted parents are Milli and Mac 2
    There are now 23 Trumpeter Swans in the local area.

    A cygnet was born on June 15, 2003

    Birds not ready for swan song

    Home | Plants and Animals of Mac Johnson Wildlife Area | Interesting Links
    "The Old Back Pond" The History of the Mac Johnson Wildlife Area by Don Wright
    | Swan News