A Metchosin resident has noticed a lack of trumpeter swans in Esquimalt Lagoon in recent months. (Photosbyjimn)

Swan numbers at Esquimalt Lagoon has resident concerned

Reason for apparent decline in numbers unknown, says Environment Canada

When Leola Rogers heads out for a walk at Esquimalt Lagoon, she can’t help but feel like something is missing. 

She rarely sees the big, white trumpeter swans that once graced the waters of the lagoon. There were four at the beginning of spring and now there’s only one, leaving the Metchosin resident wondering where the swans have gone.

“There were so many, you’d go down there and they’d be swimming around. They’re such a beautiful bird, they’re so graceful,” Rogers said. “There’s just the lone one now, if you even see it … I miss them and I can’t be the only person who is wondering what happened to them.”

Growing up, Rogers enjoyed watching the trumpeter swans swim around the lake near her hometown of Camrose, Alta., which is why she was thrilled to see mute swans at Esquimalt Lagoon roughly four or five years ago.

Walking along the shoreline, she would often see dozens of mute swans, which are distinguished by their orange bills and fleshy knobs – a trend that continued for several years. It wasn’t until a few years ago that the trumpeter swans moved into the area and the mute swans disappeared. But now, that population has declined as well, she said.

“They were definitely there in the winter and now there’s just one,” Rogers said. “It’s just kind of a mystery … and you notice when they aren’t there anymore.”

RELATED: Langford readers wonders where the swans have gone

In the past, Victoria was one of the country’s two main hubs for mute swan populations, many found at the lagoon.

Esquimalt Lagoon is a migratory bird sanctuary and is overseen by Environment Canada. Since mute swans are not native to North America, Environment Canada does not track mute swan populations. The reason for the apparent decline is unknown.

“The habitat available at Esquimalt Lagoon has not changed and is still suitable for breeding for mute swans and over-wintering for all species,” said an emailed statement.

“It is likely that there has been a redistribution of individuals from the Esquimalt Lagoon to other areas with suitable habitat.”

Swans are also a highly territorial species and are most aggressive during nest and brood rearing between March and August. It’s possible one or two highly territorial swans drove the others away from the area, said Environment Canada.

kendra.wong@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Six-year-old boy needs $19,000 a month to treat rare form of arthritis

Mother of sick Sooke boy asks government to help fund treatments

Bird watchers gear up for annual count

Count takes place in Langford, Colwood, Victoria, North and Central Saanich

Oak Bay senior boys basketball takes Tsumura title

Junior and senior teams host Gary Taylor Classic starting Thursday

Site C dam goes ahead, cost estimate now up to $10.7 billion

Premier John Horgan says Christy Clark left him no other choice

Slip back into warm days with CCPA staging of A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Canadian College of Performing Arts presents A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Dec. 14 to 16

Youth Against Cancer Club strikes again Island cancer lodge

Oak Bay High students craft decor to outfit the Canadian Cancer Society lodge in Victoria

Environmental groups slam NDP decision to continue with Site C

Construction industry, meanwhile, is cautiously optimistic about how the project will look

Be ladder safe both at work and home

WorkSafeBC wants you to keep safe while hanging those Christmas lights this year

B.C. overdose deaths surpass 1,200

96 people died of illicit drug overdoses in October

Crown appeals stay against Jamie Bacon in Surrey Six killings

B.C.’s prosecution service says judge’s decision reveals ‘errors of law’

Feds agree to give provinces 75 per cent of pot tax revenues

Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the agreement today

HOMEFINDER: Victoria condo project offers investment opportunity

Below market prices at Vivid at The Yates appealed to young Victoria couple

Red Scorpion associates cuffed in drug-trafficking bust

Kamloops RCMP lay charges in connection to Red Scorpion drug trafficking ring

Most Read