Upcoming Field Trips
Big City Beauties
Sunday, February 19, 1:00 p.m.
Photograph by J. Buchanan
Traditions can be important, but they're usually not a matter of life and death—that is, unless you're a Trumpeter Swan. According to the Trumpeter Swan Society, survival depends on trumpeters' crucial learned patterns of habitat use passed down from older, wiser birds to younger generations. Parents tutor first-winter cygnets on resources and hazards encountered at their traditional wintering areas, and offspring may regroup with parents at those same family sites in subsequent winters. In the previous century, trumpeters neared extinction due to market hunting demands for their desirable plumage, resulting in a loss of knowledge of traditional migration routes and winter food sources. More recently, however, conservation efforts have come home to roost as trumpeters continue to reclaim their former wintering landscape in our area. For several years now, Carter Lake in Omaha has been a favorite destination for a growing flock. This year's count is up to 95 Trumpeter Swans plus six Tundra Swans. A surprise in the Lincoln area this winter is the small group of five trumpeters and one Tundra Swan that Branched Oak Lake is hosting. Our February excursion will entail an afternoon hike at Omaha's Cunningham Lake to browse the conifers for winter birds followed by a late afternoon arrival at Carter Lake timed to watch the mother lode of regal swans settling in for the night.
We'll meet Sunday, February 19, at 1:00 p.m. on the south side of the Capitol in Lincoln, at 15th and H streets across from the governor's mansion. Participants can either caravan or carpool the 60 miles to our destination. Anyone preferring to meet in Omaha can join the group on the east side of Cunningham Lake at the campground off of Rainwood Road around 2:00 p.m. Recommended items to bring include winter apparel, water bottle, and binoculars and scope if you have them. The public is welcome and there is no fee. If you have questions, call John at 402-475-7275.