George Knaphus, LAS Council, (515) 294-2351
Pat Schlarbaum, Iowa DNR, (515) 432-2823
Anne Dolan, News Service, (515) 294-7065
TRUMPETER SWANS ALLOWED TO ROAM
AMES, Iowa -- Lancelot and Elaine, the Trumpeter swans brought to Lake LaVerne on the Iowa State University campus last October, are starting to check out the neighborhood. Since arriving at the lake, the pair had remained inside a fenced area at the west end of the lake. On April 20, the birds were taken out of the enclosed area for several hours.
Starting next week, the swans will be allowed to leave the fenced area for several hours each day as student teams volunteer to keep an eye on them. The birds' wings have been clipped so they can't fly away, but no one is certain how far they might wander.
"This is a learning process for us. We're just not sure of the extent of their inquisitiveness. Certainly they're not aware that cars could hit them," said George Knaphus, professor of botany and faculty adviser to the Liberal Arts and Sciences Council, one of the student organizations responsible for bringing the pair of trumpeters to Lake LaVerne.
Knaphus said he hopes enough student teams can be recruited to "swan-sit." However, if anyone notices a swan wandering away from the lake area, Knaphus asks that he or she shoo the bird back toward the lake or call the ISU Department of Public Safety, 294-4428.
Lancelot and Elaine will return every evening to the gated area at the west end of the lake. Inside the enclosure are a feeder and an island on which it is anticipated the two will establish a nest, perhaps next spring.
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