A CONSERVATION SUCCESS STORY
Shaking out their gorgeous feathers and honk-murmuring quietly in a language only they understand, a group of Trumpeter Swans (Cygnus buccinator) grace the waters of San Juan Island’s Zylstra Lake. This large freshwater lake, with secrets that our current acquisition project is just beginning to unlock, is an important wintering area for these swans and other large waterfowl flocks. The swans counted at Zylstra Lake on this cold January day were part of a decades-long inventory coordinated by The Preservation Trust and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). The average annual population of Trumpeter Swans in the San Juan Islands (between 50-100 individuals over the last 5 years) equals what was once the entire population of these swans in all of the lower 48 states, according to a 1930’s census. Once hunted for their feathers and poisoned by lead shot ingestion, these graceful birds have made a miraculous recovery.
The Preservation Trust works closely with WDFW, the Trumpeter Swan Society and other conservation groups each January on this swan count, which provides a snapshot of the wintering swan populations and valuable insight into recovery efforts.
If you would like to help, please contact Kathleen Foley, Stewardship Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360.378.2461.