Alaska trumpeter swans filling historic range

Alaska’s migration of trumpeter swans is nearly complete and a federal wildlife biologist says the population is thriving.

Deborah Groves of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says North America’s largest waterfowl species continues a comeback from near extinction in Lower 48 states and from much of its Alaska habitat.

Trumpeter swans were hunted throughout the 1800s for meat and feathers.

By the 1930s, biologists thought just 69 birds remained – a group in Yellowstone National Park – and hunting was banned.

Groves says biologists later found a few thousand more trumpeters when they started doing bird research in Alaska in the 1950s.

Alaska swan counts every five years since 1975 have detected strong growth.

Groves says random sampling in 2010 estimated 25,347 swans and additional growth continues.