Trumpeter swan rescued in North Okanagan had yet to migrate south | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

Would you like to subscribe to our newsletter?

Kelowna News

Trumpeter swan rescued in North Okanagan had yet to migrate south

A young trumpeter swan was found on the northern tip of Okanagan Lake caught in metal.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Eva Hartmann/Pete Wise

The trumpeter swan can be seen throughout the Okanagan. With its striking black and white colouring, not only is it arguably one of the prettiest birds in the region, but it is also one of the most protected.

Eva Hartmann, co-founder of Interior Wildlife Rehabilitation Society, recently had a young trumpeter swan come into her care.

The bird was rescued on the north end of the Okanagan Lake, where it got trapped in metal and dislocated its shoulder trying to escape.

This kind of situation is unfortunately very common, Hartmann said.

Image Credit: B.C. Wildlife Park

“Generally, in wildlife rehabilitation over 90% of the animals that we get in… are impacted by humans,” she said. “It's just the struggle of human encroachment into wildlife habitat. That's why we exist.”

Hartmann said it was unusual for a trumpeter swan to be found in the Okanagan this late in the year, as normally they would have already migrated south.

“However, depending on the weather patterns, it's been pretty warm lately, they might stick around,” Hartmann said. “This one was actually seen together with a group of other swans on the northern tip of Okanagan Lake.”

It’s not possible to tell the sex of the bird from the outside, but she can mark the bird’s age from its grey feathers. At two years old, trumpeter swans grow into their full white plumage, as well as an impressive size.

In the Okanagan, the swans feed off vegetation on the shoreline as well as a few insects here and there for protein, Hartmann said. They have filtration systems in their beaks that allow them to filter out aquatic insects underwater, called a lamellae.

Trumpeter swans are just one of the animals under the organization's care. They're also one of the species of migratory birds federally protected by both Canadian and U.S. governments.

According to Wildlife Species Canada, the trumpeter swan population was nearly wiped out in the early 1900s due to hunting and habitat loss. Now, hunting the swans is illegal in both Canada and the U.S.

Trumpeter swans have also been identified as a priority for conservation and stewardship within Canada and overtime, their population has been able to restore.

The swan in Interior Wildlife’s care is young and, if all goes well, will hopefully be released back into the wild soon.

A young trumpeter swan, identifiable by its grey plumage.
A young trumpeter swan, identifiable by its grey plumage.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Eva Hartmann/Pete Wise

According to the Cornell University website: All About Birds, a trumpeter swans’ wingspans can reach 6 feet in length. They also weigh more than 25 pounds, making them North America’s heaviest flying bird and because of their weight, they need at least a 100-metre-long runway to get up into the air.

Trumpeter swans often mate for life and typically move together in migratory populations. However, some individuals do have a change of heart and will switch mates over their lifetimes.

Some males have even been observed losing a mate and never partnering up again.

Another unique trick of the trumpeter swans is the way they incubate their eggs. The swans keep their eggs warm, not by sitting on them, but by covering them with their webbed feet.

Although they are federally protected, wildlife care often falls on the shoulder’s independent organizations like the Interior Wildlife Rehabilitation Society, which relies predominantly on public funding to operate.

More information about Interior Wildlife Rehabilitation Society can be found on their website here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Georgina Whitehouse or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. SUBSCRIBE to our awesome newsletter here.

News from © iNFOnews, 2023

  • Popular vernon News
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile