Trumpeter swans were extinct from Iowa and most of the United States until the Department of Natural Resources started the restoration process in the early 1990’s along with other states, mostly Minnesota and Wisconsin. Wildlife Lakes was one of the cooperative participating sites for raising and releasing young trumpeters, with the goal of re-establishing wild breeding pairs in the Midwest. For the last ten years Wildlife Lakes has had wild pairs nesting on Swan Lake in Southeast Iowa, located on Wildlife Lakes Elk Farm. To date, counting the hatch of 2020, we will have let 60 signets fly from Swan Lake to find their own mates and nesting areas.
Baby swans are called signets. They hatch in approximately 35 days from laying. They fly at 103 days from hatching. We have had as many as 200 trumpeters visiting in the winter at one time. During spring and hatching only one pair will take control of the 23 acre Swan Lake and chases off all other swans and geese. Adult swans get up to 30-35 lbs and can have a 7-8 foot wing span. Water is kept open for wintering birds. Feeders are raised so only swans can reach them.