Earlier this month, Kate Zimmerman, who is executive director of the Ringgold County Conservation Board, assisted in the county’s first ever trumpeter swan release at the Mt. Ayr Wildlife Area at Walnut Creek Lake.
The event included a swan/wetland presentation and offered a unique opportunity to touch and view the swans up close in this historic event. As the largest North American waterfowl, the all-white birds can weigh up to 32 pounds with an 8-foot wingspan.
Trumpeter swans were once common in Iowa, but were gone from the state by the late 1880s. By the early 1930s, only 69 trumpeter swans remained in the lower 48 states. The trumpeter swans released in cooperation with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Ringgold County Conservation Board were part of the DNR’s statewide trumpeter swan restoration effort, with hopes they will help restore a wild free flying population to Iowa.
Public support is key to achieving this objective, said Zimmerman.