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A sad swan song

June 14, 2013
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

First there were three in the brood, then two, down to one and then, none at all.

The triplet Trumpeter Swans born on Kupka's pond on Tama's north side are gone and all are presumed dead according to Deet Kupka.

Their parents are gone from the pond too.

Article Photos

The three Trumpeter Swan cygnets follow their parents at Kupka’s Pond in Tama on Tuesday, May 28.
News-Herald/John Speer

The three cygnets were hatched on Memorial Day weekend, Kupka said.

From then on, things went sour.

"It's been real sad," Kupka said in recounting the loss of all the swans.

Here's what is believed to have happened according to Kupka:

"Scooter" was discovered having been born in mid-June, 2011, on Kupka's pond by Deet's granddaughter, Tyler Kupka. Parents were "Ding" and "Dong", two Trumpeter Swans whom previously had been relocated to the pond by the Department of Natural Resource. The pair had been found injured and placed on Kupka's Pond as part of the Trumpeter Swan restoration program.

David Hamilton, in charge of the DNR Swan Restoration Program, said Scooter was the first Trumpeter Swan born in Tama County in at least 130 years.

Ding and Dong were unable to fly.

What is believed to be Scooter along with a mate returned to Kupka's Pond this spring. Ding was killed and Dong's wing was injured .He is at a DNR facility in Ames recuperating.

Scooter's mate nested on the small island in the pond and passersby observed her through the May 2 snow storm, rain and gloomy weather stoically sitting on the nest.

The cygnets were born over Memorial Day weekend, May 25-27, Deet said. From what happened over the next few days, Deet said these adult swans didn't appear to have developed good parenting skills.

One sygnet was observed unable to get back on the island with the parents and siblings and appeared to have died trying.

Later, Deet received a telephone call informing her the remaining swans were near her beauty shop west of the pond.

Deet said she was able to herd them back to the fenced pond area on this occasion.

Subsequently ,a second cygnet turned up gone.

Then the third cygnet was returned by a woman who had found it. It too, soon was missing as were it's parents who have not been observed at the pond lately.



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