The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has re-established its hot line to report dead, sick or injured swans in three counties. The hotline is part of the agency’s ongoing effort to assess the impact of lead poisoning on trumpeter swans.
People can call 360-466-4345, ext. 266, to report dead, sick or injured swans in Whatcom, Skagit and Snohomish counties. Callers should be prepared to leave a message that includes name, phone number, and the location and condition of the swans. The hotline is available 24 hours a day through the end of March.
Some trumpeter swans in those three counties, as well as in southwestern British Columbia, die each winter from lead poisoning after ingesting lead shot in areas where they feed, said a department news release.
Lead shot has been banned for waterfowl hunting in Washington and British Columbia for more than a decade. Swans can still pick up and ingest lead shot while foraging in areas in fields and roosts where lead shot is still present.
People who observe dead, sick or injured swans are advised not to handle or collect the birds.