Over the last 10 years, the annual hatching of trumpeter swan cygnets has been a mainstay at Lincoln Park Zoo. These chicks have all left the zoo each fall to be released to the wild as part of the Iowa state recovery program for this once-imperiled species.
The program has been so successful that Lincoln Park Zoo cygnets were not needed for reintroduction this year and the zoo’s breeding pair were given “dummy eggs” so that they would not produce chicks.
But that doesn't mean that zoo swans aren't still making their mark in Iowa. Released swans are banded with numbered neck collars and are tracked by biologists and local birdwatchers. 74K is one such banded female. She hatched at Lincoln Park Zoo in 2005 and was released to the wild near Granger, Iowa a year later.
This year she hatched six cygnets of her own at Tieg's Marsh. 74K is one of 38 trumpeter swans hatched at the zoo between 2000 and 2009 that have been released to the wild. We occasionally receive updates on their progress and this report about 74K is some of the best news yet.
Hope B. McCormick Curator of Birds