Wildlife Biologists with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes began a project to restore Trumpeter Swans as a resident species on the Flathead Indian Reservation in the mid-1990s. Subsequent efforts resulted in the release of 268 captive bred Trumpeter Swans since 2002, which has resulted in at least 155 successful nesting attempts that produced 421 fledgling cygnets (swan nestlings) since that time.
Most of the nesting success has occurred on the Flathead Indian Reservation, but nesting swans that originated from the restoration project have also nested near Eureka and Kalispell, Montana during the past few years, and others that likely originated from the project have nested at Glacier National Park and at the Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge. A result of these efforts has been the successful restoration of Trumpeter Swans, which were once extirpated as a local resident species. Trumpeter Swans are now commonly observed on the Flathead Indian Reservation and elsewhere in northwestern Montana and are continuing to return to their former habitats as their population increases.
As the released swans reach maturity at the age of three, they begin pairing and producing cygnets. In an effort to better document the expansion of Trumpeter Swans in northwestern Montana, the Tribal Wildlife Management Program annually surveys wetlands on the Reservation to record nesting attempts and production. Similar surveys by Montana, Fish, Wildlife and Parks and U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service personnel are ongoing elsewhere in northwestern Montana.
The Tribal Wildlife Management Program staff is requesting observations from the public of Trumpeter Swan nesting and production of cygnets throughout northwestern Montana. If you have observed Trumpeter Swans nesting or adult swans with cygnets, please contact Dale Becker, Tribal Wildlife Program Manager by phone at (406) 675-2700