A special donation took place late last month, building a bridge between the local ATV community and those dedicated to preserving the trumpeter swan.
Dave Ernest, vice-president of Dufferin Grey ATV, presented $1,000 to the Ontario Trumpeter Swan Restoration group.
Dianne Horvath, OTSR volunteer said “the Dufferin Grey ATV donation could not have come at a better time” because there were eight swans in care at the facility, one adult and now seven cygnets.
While a volunteer does the work with the birds, the Dufferin Grey ATV donation will help cover expenses for treatment of injuries, supplies, food, and housing. The money will also be used in habitat restoration.
What sparked the donation is a couple of accident in recent years. In 2020 a female swan, nicknamed “Momma,” died after a collision with an ATV on the CN Rail Trail. A similar 2019 collision resulted in the death of three cygnets (baby swans).
After last year’s event, an alliance was formed between Ontario Trumpeter Swans, Chatsworth Angels, Dufferin Grey ATV and the Grey County Rail Trail to try to prevent further injuries and deaths of the recovering native species.
Also attending the presentation were Kyna Intini and Julie Kee (volunteers), and Angela Milan and Phyllis Gardon (Chatsworth Angels), and others from a distance – all showing their commitment to working together, said Ms Horvath.
During the presentation, Dave Ernest spoke of changes made to improve safety for the swans by Dufferin Grey ATV and the Grey County Rail Trail.
These include adding trail wardens and having Grey OPP go with wardens on their patrols, and also building floating platforms for the swans, so they don’t need to use the trail.
Ernest added that Dufferin Grey ATV welcomes new volunteers to patrol the trails, to make sure rules such as speed limits are followed.
Trumpeter swans have often been pushed out from their natural habitat by development and also by the introduction of mute swans, says Ontario Trumpeter Swan Restoration.
Members are hoping that changes make the multi-use trail a great recreational trail for users while preserving wildlife safety.
And if you are wondering what happened to Momma’s partner, Ms Horvath reports that #K09 (William), travelled south to Port Credit along with his cygnets in January of 2021. Two of his daughters received their tags #Z82 and #Z83 from Ontario Trumpeter Swan Restoration.
In spring of 2021, William returned to Grey County and while without a partner was happy this year defending his marsh from any pesky geese or other swans that try to take it over.
Anyone wishing to support the trumpeter swan project can give through the Amherst Wildlife Foundation.
M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald