New Swans Swimming
In what’s become a welcome sign of spring, I’m happy to announce that four trumpeter swan cygnets have hatched at the zoo’s Hope B. McCormick Swan Pond.
These fuzzy new arrivals bring the total number of hatches for this species at Lincoln Park Zoo to more than 40. Like their siblings before them, these cygnets will spend the summer growing on the pond before heading to Iowa in the fall, where they’ll eventually be released to the wild through the Iowa Trumpeter Swan Restoration Project.
This long-running conservation effort—and others like it—has helped restore this majestic species to much of its native range. Trumpeter swans nearly became extinct in the early 20th century due to overhunting and habitat loss, but they’ve had a remarkable recovery thanks to the effort of zoos, conservation agencies and their supporters.
Of course, these little cygnets have a long way to grow before they leave the Swan Pond. In a bit of a departure, our pair moved their nest location this year, opting to gather their sticks on the floating island at the center of the Swan Pond. At first we weren’t sure of the total number of hatchlings, as our female swan kept the chicks close under wing. But it wasn’t long before we saw a tiny quartet paddling about and closely following mom and dad.
Beyond the swan hatches, it’s been a busy season for birds at the zoo. Spring migration recently wrapped up, and we saw a range of species stopping to rest and refuel at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo. Golden-winged warblers, blue-winged warblers and American bitterns were among the notable birds spotted by scientists at the zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute.
I’m also happy to share that black-crowned night herons have once again settled in around Lincoln Park, particularly at the Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo and their familiar allée south of Nature Boardwalk. It’s always a thrill to have a native, endangered species in our backyard, and the herons are continuing to thrive. UWI scientists have counted more than 500 birds…including the first chicks of the season.
It’s an exciting time for bird lovers at the zoo. I encourage you to come by to welcome the trumpeter swan cygnets—and see what you spot in the trees overhead.