Ninepipes program celebrates trumpeter swans

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A diorama at Ninepipes Museum depicts a female trumpeter swan with her nest of eggs.

It is a thrill to see the big white trumpeter swans in the sky over the Mission Valley, and the Ninepipes Museum in Charlo is celebrating the trumpeter swans with a special program Saturday, Aug. 24.

Attendees can view the recent installation of a nesting pair in the diorama room. Last year, Dale Becker, the Wildlife Program manager with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, contacted the museum with the offer of a pair of birds. Along with financing from CSKT, museum members James and Roxie Davis spearheaded a fundraising effort to cover the taxidermy expenses with Mission Valley Ducks Unlimited and Mission Valley Pheasants Forever contributing to the cause, along with the Davises.

Becker will provide a PowerPoint presentation at 2 p.m. in the Montana Room of Ninepipes Lodge that describes the swans’ reintroduction project that has been in effect since 1996.

Early observation of the species in western Montana was reported by Lewis and Clark, Father Pierre DeSmet and E.S. Cameron. The majestic birds neared extinction in North America in 1935 with only 69 known individuals remaining. Along with other local wildlife managers, Becker and CSKT directed the effort to reintroduce the trumpeter swans on the Flathead Indian Reservation. Becker will describe the project’s setbacks and successes over the past 23 years and speak to future goals. The seating capacity is limited in the Montana Room, so call the museum at 406-644-3435 to reserve your seats.

Following the PowerPoint presentation, everyone is invited to meet in the diorama room for a brief ceremony to celebrate the new exhibit. Jan Kauffman, a museum board member, designed and constructed the exhibit space for the swans. Light refreshments will be served, and there is free admission to the museum for the day. Call 406-644-3435 to reserve seats for the presentation or for further information.

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