By the 1980s, the state natural resources agencies of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan had initiated Trumpeter Swan recovery programs. These efforts have now restored breeding populations in the Midwest.
Lead poisoning through the ingestion of lead shot or lead fishing sinkers present in wetlands and lakes is a serious threat to restoration of Trumpeter Swans. Trumpeters pick up the lead shot or sinkers when they feed from a marsh bottom. Just one or two lead pellets are enough to sicken or kill a bird. A ban on the use of lead shot to hunt waterfowl went into effect nationwide in 1991. Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan had outlawed the use of lead shot prior to the national ban, but accumulated spent lead shot still remains on the bottoms of most shallow wetlands in the region, the result of decades of waterfowl hunting. next page >>