Trumpeter Swans hatch at zoo

June 10, 2009 The three cygnets hatched two days ago. According to zookeepers, they're doing great. And no one is prouder then their parents- Cob and Pen- who are doing a fine job of protecting their offspring.

"The trumpeter swans tend to be relatively territorial so if another animal or even people would come in to their area they would defend the cygnets," said Dr. Megan Ross, general curator, Lincoln Park Zoo.

The cygnets are tiny, but their futures are very, very big.

"This is the largest water fowl species in North America. They can have a wing span of about eight feet and can often weight up to twenty or thirty pounds," said Dr. Ross.

The cygnets will grow rapidly over the summer at Lincoln Park Zoo. By September they will weigh about fifteen pounds. Then it's off to Iowa, where they will be part of a re-introduction into the wild program that hopes to bring back the Trumpeter Swan. A hundred years ago, the fowl was hunted almost until extinction.

"They'll get to chose their mate, select their mate over the winter. So they'll stay at that facility over the winter. And in the spring they'll start reintroducing them to wetlands and different sites in Iowa," said Ross.

For now they'll enjoy a Chicago summer in a newly renovated pond with solar power aerators and plant filled islands that help clean the water.

"It makes it so we're relying on natural processes like plants to actually ... filter out the water to make it clean for the birds," said Ross.

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