(KTVI) - Dr. Patricia Hagen is the executive director at the Audubon Center at Riverlands. She talked with Elliot Weiler about the return of the trumpeter swans.
There are a record number of the gorgeous birds this year. They are currently using the Riverlands as their habitat this winter.
On January 10,897 trumpeter swans were counted. This is significantly higher than the normal count that is slightly better than 500.
Trumpeter Swans were nearly extirpated in the early 1900s due to hunting pressures, but over the past few decades populations have started to increase thanks to recovery efforts by many people and agencies.
Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary (RMBS) along the Mississippi River in St. Charles County, is the single most important wintering site of the southern states with counts of 500+ in the past few years.
The return of the swans this winter also coincided with the recent designation of the Great Rivers Confluence (the land Audubon Center sits on) as a globally significant Important Bird Area (IBA). This has put the greater St. Louis area on the map as a global destination for bird lovers around the world.
On weekends through February 9, The Audubon Center also hosts `Birds of Winter` events where guests can view bald eagles and raptors up close.
The Audubon Center at Riverlands is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. except on select holidays.
Admission is free.