Swan Naming Contest 


Our Trumpeter Swans are getting names this month, and you can help decide what they are!

Help us raise money for The Trumpeter Swan Society (TTSS) by casting your vote for your favorite names today. A minimum donation of $1 to TTSS is required to vote, however, the more you donate, the more votes are counted toward your favorite names! If you donate $1, one vote is counted to both your male and female names, if you donate $10, then ten votes are counted.  

TTSS is a non-profit organization dedicated to the welfare of wild Trumpeter Swan populations. The chosen names will be announced on Facebook on March 31st, so make sure you are following us @TracyAviary!

Our $1,600 fundraising goal will buy TTSS a brand new GPS collar! They are currently working on restoring a healthy breeding population in Oregon, but haven’t been able to track an Oregon swan yet! This GPS collar will allow them to get helpful data on where the swans go. Each collar transmits data for 3 years, so this is a gift that keeps on giving!

Name Options

All options are named after wildlife refuges in the United States where swans are found (respective refuges shown in parenthesis)


1.    Valentine (Valentine National Wildlife Refuge in NE)

2.    Fergus (Fergus Falls Wetland Management District in MN)

3.    Morris (Morris Wetland Management District in MN)


1.    Ruby (Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge in NV)

2.    Mingo (Mingo National Wildlife Refuge in MO)

3.    Necedah (Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in WI…pronounced Neh-see-dah)

And now for a little history lesson on Trumpeter Swans at Tracy Aviary.... 

For Tracy Aviary’s first 37 years, Calvin D. Wilson was the curator of the bird collection. During his time here, several exciting breeding programs occurred, along with recognition for the part Tracy Aviary played in recovery efforts of the Trumpeter Swan. 

In 1900, Trumpeter Swans were nearly extinct in the United States, due in part to excessive hunting. The species has been protected by Federal and State laws since 1918. In 1957 the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife began lending Trumpeter Swans to selected zoos because of their increased abundance in the wild (populations were found outside of Yellowstone and in Alaska). 

In February of 1969, the Bureau awarded plaques to four zoos which bred 37 trumpeter swans in captivity from 1965-1969. Nine cygnets were hatched in 1968 -- five of which were at Tracy Aviary. This was the first time the species has been bred in captivity. Tracy Aviary was honored along with the Brit Spaugh Park and Zoo,  Philadelphia Zoological Gardens, and Mesker Park Zoo.  The successes from 1965-1969 increased the population of captive Trumpeter Swans in the United States to 106 (97 adult and 9 young).

The success in saving Trumpeter Swans from extinction inspired the US Government to preserve many other endangered species of American wildlife for the enjoyment of future generations. 

Below is some information about the pair of trumpeter swans that are being named! 

Our male swan arrived at the aviary in spring 2016.  He is a former wild bird who unfortunately injured his wing in the wild in such a way that he can no longer fly.  He came to us from a rehabilitation facility.  Based on plumage, he was estimated to be 2 years old when he came in (so he would be about 4 this spring).  He is the more confident and sassier of the pair of birds. 

Our female swan arrived at the aviary in winter 2016.  She is a captive hatched bird.  She hatched in spring 2016, so will be 2 years old this spring.  She is the more shy, reserved one of the pair.

We are hoping to breed the swans to participate in a wild release program.  This program uses zoo-raised cygnets to release into the wild to help bolster wild populations in certain areas.  However, we most likely have a few years to wait.  Trumpeter swans don't typically breed until they are around 4.  Our pair may breed before then (we will set them up for nest building each spring), but due to their ages, it may be a few years before we see success


Take a look at the photos below to see some news highlights from Calvin's work with Trumpeter Swans. Special thanks to his daughter for providing the historic documents.