A pair of trumpeter swans hatched at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore on Thursday, May 20, the zoo said in a press release.
The hatchlings, called cygnets, came out of their shells after more than 30 days of incubating in their “huge” nest, the zoo said. They are the sixth clutch laid by Scuttle and Buttercup, two resident trumpeters.
Avian collection and conservation manager Jen Kottyan said the cygnets will be raised by their parents and monitored as they learned to swim, forage, and feed.
“We’ll be very hands-off to keep them as wild as possible,” Kottyan said. “We want to give them the best chance at survival in the wild once they are released.”
The juvenile swans will be transported to Buttonwood Park Zoo in Massachusetts in the fall to further mature. They will then move to their release site in the wilds of Oregon.
According to Maryland Zoo, trumpeter swans are the largest waterfowl species native to North America and the largest swan in the world, but were hunted to near-extinction for their skin, feathers, meat, and eggs, disappearing from much of the US by the late 1800s. Scuttle and Buttercup play “a very important role in the conservation of their species,” Kottyan said, as many of the pair’s previous chicks have been introduced to the wild in an effort to reestablish the trumpeter swan population. Credit: Maryland Zoo via Storyful