Swan pair draws a crowd

Associated Press

SLEEPY EYE, Minn. -- A pair of trumpeter swans is making a home in a slough here -- and drawing a crowd.

A state wildlife official says they're the first nesting pair observed in the southwest part of the state since the late 19th century.

"A lot of people slow up or pull up on the road to watch them," says Mike Sellner, who owns the property where the swans are nesting.

Sellner says a pair of trumpeters first appeared on his land a few years ago. In 2000, the pair hatched five young, called cygnets.


The swans returned last year but the male died when he flew into a power line and several of the cygnets also died. Sellner's wife, Judy, says the female left late last fall and returned with a new mate about a month ago.

To prevent another accident, Brown County's rural electric cooperative installed basketball-size orange orbs on the power lines.

Trumpeter swans disappeared from Minnesota in the 1880s, and an attempt to reestablish the species began in the state in 1966. In 2001, there were an estimated 1,200 trumpeters in the state, including 117 nesting pairs, said Steve Kittelson, Department of Natural Resources non-game wildlife specialist

Most are in the Monticello area near the Mississippi River or in Otter Tail County near Fergus Falls.

The DNR considers trumpeter swans a "threatened species."

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