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More Iowa trumpeter swans to move to Holla Bend Refuge

From the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

-- Another group of young Iowa trumpeter swans will move into a new winter home Feb. 10. It’s the third year of a scheduled three-year project to relocate swans in an attempt to encourage their migration.

Somewhere around 15 first-year trumpeters will be brought by Iowa Department of Natural Resources biologists to Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge near Dardanelle, where they will be released.

A program on trumpeter swans will be given Feb. 9 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Room 152 of McEver Hall on the Arkansas Tech University campus. It is free, and the public is invited.

The goal isn’t to establish a population of trumpeter swans in Arkansas but to encourage Iowa swans to fly south for the winter. Growing numbers of trumpeters are using little Magness Lake east of Heber Springs as a winter home.

The biologists, who are working with Karen Rowe of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the staff of Holla Bend Refuge, are trying to re-establish a migration pattern into the trumpeters, which have been restored to the upper Midwest over the past couple of decades.

Somewhere along the restoration years, the swans forgot to go to warmer regions when winter arrived. Hundreds remain in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan during winter, requiring feeding by state wildlife agencies and volunteers. In Arkansas, though, the birds are able to fend for themselves for natural food.

The hope is for the young birds wintering at Holla Bend to return north and migrate with other swans to the south in future winters.

Rowe said the release of the 2010 group of young swans form Iowa will be at 10:30 at Holla Bend. Participants and the birds will meet at refuge headquarters then will drive to a release site. Bird enthusiasts are invited to watch. Holla Bend Refuge is about six miles south of Dardanelle, on Arkansas Highway 7 south to Arkansas Highway 155, then east to Refuge headquarters, a short distance inside the entrance.

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