Trying to change a trumpeter swan's mind about where to spend the winter may be next to impossible, but the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is determined to try.
This fall, 56 of the endangered birds have been captured at their traditional wintering site in Harriman State Park and moved to other suitable sites at Fort Hall, Bruneau Dunes State Park, Minidoka National Wildlife Range and Salt River, Wyo.Last winter, more than 700 of the swans - a third of the trumpeter swans living in North America - wintered in the Harriman State Park stretch of Henrys Fork in eastern Idaho. The concentration of birds exhausted water vegetation, which they feed on. Even with supplemental feeding, several of the swans died.
A fourth year of drought this year hurt vegetation growth, so a coalition of state and federal agencies and conservation groups are working to move many of the swans before severe weather sets in.
Fish and Game officials said they are hopeful the new locations will be adopted as wintering grounds by the endangered swans, decreasing the chances of infection or starvation.