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Trumpeter swan soiree returns to central Iowa

  • 1/2/2020 6:58:00 AM
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UPDATED: Due to winter weather conditions, the event has been rescheduled from Jan. 18 to Feb. 15. Times and locations remain the same.

West Des Moines, Iowa - The public is invited to a Trumpeter Swan Soiree, celebrating North America’s largest waterfowl species, on Feb. 15, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at Walnut Woods State Park, in West Des Moines.

Programs will be given both indoors and outdoors at the Walnut Woods State Park lodge with concurrent outdoor viewing and interpretive presentations of trumpeter swans and wildlife given by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Des Moines Parks and Recreation, and Polk and Dallas County Conservation naturalist.  Spotting scopes and binoculars will be provided. An estimated 120 trumpeter swans are wintering at the Dale Maffitt Reservoir and surrounding area southwest of Des Moines, providing a rare opportunity to view good numbers of free flying trumpeter swans. 

 Hot chocolate, hot cider, cookies, hotdogs and other snacks will be provided free of charge. Donations will be accepted with proceeds going towards Iowa trumpeter swan restoration.

Feb. 15

Walnut Woods State Park Lodge, 3155 Walnut Woods Dr., West Des Moines

11-11:10 a.m.               Welcome

11:10-11:30 a.m.          Trumpeter Swans- Bringing Back a North American Treasure-

                                      Margaret Smith, Director, Trumpeter Swan Society

11:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.  Live Trumpeter Swan Presentation- See, touch and learn about
Dave Hoffman, Iowa DNR

12-12:20 p.m.              Break & Youth Activities

12:20-12:40 p.m.         Trumpeter Swan Restoration in Iowa-

                                      Dave Hoffman, Iowa DNR and Ron Andrews

12:40-1 p.m.                “Return of the Trumpeter Swans” North American film                 
                                      documentary preview - Steve Harryman, filmmaker

1-1:20 p.m.                  Birding Basics, Anna Buckardt, Iowa DNR

1:30 p.m.-                    Guided field trip and Nature Photography 101, Swan and wildlife                                                                viewing with hands-on photo tips-Wildlife photographers Eric Williamson and                                              Holly Welch. Dale Maffitt Reservoir and  southwest Des Moines area

11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.   Youth activities- Bills & Beaks- How birds eat, and a swan/nature
 kit, Swan pine cone crafting, bird wings, trumpeter swan
                                    runway and 
outdoor activities- Anne Riordan, Iowa DNR

More information on Walnut Woods State Park is available at

Trumpeter swans were once common in Iowa, but were gone from the state by the late 1880s. By the early 1930s, only 69 trumpeter swans remained in the lower 48 states.  As the largest North American waterfowl, these magnificent all-white birds can weigh up to 32 pounds with an eight-foot wingspan. Public support has been vital in restoring trumpeter swans to Iowa. 

This event is being sponsored by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the Polk and Dallas County Conservation boards, Des Moines Parks and Recreation and the Trumpeter Swan Society.