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The two messages below appeared on Texbird.  Two threads of interest are
"thrillkillers" as a term for perpetrators rather than "hunters" or
"poachers"; and the "countability"/history/status of the upper midwest
re-introduced Trumpeters.

Edge Wade
Columbia, MO
[log in to unmask]

Subject: Trumpeter Swans seen/killed in Floyd County
From: Anthony Flyd <terrverts AT YAHOO.COM>
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2003 07:58:57 -0800

---> Texbird help file http://www.texbirds.org <---

      Greetings All:

  On Saturday, December 13th, a family of Trumpeter Swans was reported as
having  been shot at a playa near Lockney in Floyd County. Game wardens
arrived at the scene quickly, recovered the dead birds, captured the
wounded (which are now at the South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation
Center -SPWRC- in Lubbock), and are currently working vigorously to find
the culprit(s). The game officers I have spoken to have been extremely
angry and appear to be genuinely interested in seeing this case
through - one described the people involved as 'thrillkillers'. All have
been careful to point out that the people who did this should not be
considered 'hunters' as the hunting of swans is illegal in Texas, that
they should not be considered 'poachers' as no attempt was made to take
the birds for food, but that they should be considered nothing more than
'thrillkillers'. I don't necessarily agree but little is to be gained by
arguing the merits of their definitions and much is to be gained by
assisting them with their investigation - as they are currently firmly
on the
side of the swans!


  The chief investigative officer is Mark Collins out of Plainview Texas.
Questions about the progress of the investigation should be addressed to
him and, if anyone feels that pressure should be placed upon TPWD, they
can locate the relevant phone numbers and e-mail addresses on their own.
TPWD has a website. The Iowa DNR has offered to add $1000 to any reward
monies that are awarded to anyone who provides information that leads to
the capture and conviction. Additional award monies are being sought
from state, and possibly federal, sources.


  It is not my intention to re-open the essentially worthless (i.e. a lot
of
feelings were hurt and nobody's opinion was changed) thread abouth
hunting that erupted on texbirds earlier this year. I apologize to Dave
Sarkozi and to other texbirders if an offensive and largely useless
argument breaks out as a result of this post but I did want to share
some information about the birds - especially as this seems to be a
particularly good year for both Tundra and
Trumpeters Swans to be showing up in our part of Texas.

Both adults were from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources'
reintroduction program. They were hatched in 1999, released in 2000,
and, so far as is known, this represented their first breeding attempt.
The adult female was either uninjured or only lightly injured and is
still at large - attempts may be made to capture her and reunite her
with her family in captivity. The adult male (banded H-99) was seriously
injured (leg and wing), will recover but will never fly again, and will
be returned to Iowa for the captive breeding program. Two of the cygnets
were mortally wounded, left to die, and died. One cygnet was severely
injured, will never fly again, and will be sent to Iowa for the captive
breeding program. One cygnet was less severely injured and may well be
eligible for release to the wild at some point.

This family of swans is possibly amidst the forerunners of an increasing
number of Trumpeter Swans that may be seen in the future in Texas. We'll
have to be on our toes, from here on out, whenever we see a swan - can't
just default them to Tundra Swans - and that is good news!

Of particular interest to local birders - the adult female is still
wandering
about (no-one has her collar number) and we should all keep an eye out
for her and report her location, should she be relocated, to TPWD.

A note from Carol Lee of the SPWRC: The male was initially quite listless
while being held in isolation but regained his spirits when reunited
(visually)
with the surviving cygnets - in fact, he appeared to want a piece of
whoever
was handy whenever they touched the cygnets. A testament to the devotion
of swans as parents and a hopeful sign of recovery, in my opinion.

A question for the TBRC? Does a report need to be filed about these
birds?
With banded adults (of known origin) and accompanying unbanded cygnets
(representing an essentially successful breeding attempt) this seems to
fall
into the gray area of 'identification solid, adults not countable due to
birth
in captivity, cygnets countable as part of a successful reintroduction
program'. If a report needs to be filed, I don't know who can do it as no
birdwatchers were on the scene when the birds were recovered from the
playa in Floyd County and it is very difficult to talk extraordinarily
busy game wardens into filing rare bird reports.

If I have left any questions unanswered feel free to contact me
terrverts AT yahoo.com and I will do my best to answer them.

  Anthony Floyd, President, Field Notes Compiler, Field Trips
Coordinator, and
CBC Compiler, Llano Estacado Audubon Society, Lubbock, Texas



Dear Anthony and TexBirders,

Trumpeter Swans are a "problem" from a records keeping point of view.  We
know that Trumpeters from the native population in Wyoming have the
potential to occur in the state as we have a specimen record of a bird
banded as a cygnet in Wyoming.  The bird hit a high-line wire near Vega,
Oldham Co., on 8 April 1993.  However, it is clear that the majority (if
not
all) of the birds found in Texas in the past few years are from the
reintroduction projects in the Midwest.  Here is where it gets sticky.
The
Depts. of Natural Resources in Minnesota and Wisconsin have completed
their
hands on efforts with this species.  These efforts started in the
mid-1980s
and virtually all of the birds in those states are unmarked and the
species
is considered established.  Iowa is still marking and releasing birds,
but
folks in that state's DNR tell me that they have lots of birds from
Minnesota (presumably) moving into Iowa.  I suspect Iowa will no longer
be
releasing birds in the next few years.  We have had Iowa birds show up in
the Lubbock area the last two years and near Wichita Falls last winter.

What does all of this mean?  The TBRC is interested in collecting data on
these birds in general.  If an observer finds collared birds we can track
down their point of origin and that is good enough.  The identification
is
not in question and we have the data which will also appear in North
American Birds.  For now we would still like to have details and photos
of
unmarked birds for review.  I wish (I guess) that enough birds would
start
wintering in Texas where we would not have an interest in collecting
documentation, but simply numbers of birds and location.

Mark


Mark Lockwood
Secretary, Texas Bird Records Committee
402 E. Harriet Ave.
Alpine, Texas 79830
mark.lockwood AT tpwd.state.tx.us

Visit the Texas Bird Records Committee at http://texasbirds.org/tbrc/

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