Top Ten Threats to Trumpeter Swans

Photograph by Tammy Wolfe

As Trumpeters return to long-vacant habitats, they often encounter conditions dramatically altered by human activities. They are often particularly vulnerable while they are learning to use a new area. Some of the threats they now face include:

  • Loss of knowledge of traditional migration routes to more southerly wintering areas.
  • New diseases, such as avian influenza, with potentially devastating consequences.
  • Loss of wetlands and diminished quality.
  • Loss of farm lands where crop residues have been providing important winter food resources.
  • Fatal lead shot poisoning when swans swallow pellets found in soil where shooting activities have occurred
  • Illegal shooting
  • Climate change that is reducing breeding habitat quality in the relatively arid western US
  • Powerline collisions that injure or kill swans.
  • Human disturbance that disrupts nesting attempts or flushes wintering swans and makes them burn up needed energy reserves.
  • Lack of funding to provide long-term habitat protection.