Trumpeter swans continue to die of suspected lead poisoning at a lake in the Twin Cities metro area.
Last year, 11 of the majestic swans were found dead at Vadnais Lake in Vadnais Heights. This winter, two additional trumpeter swans have been located deceased at the lake, including one on the lake's north end/east side, and another at Sucker Channel.
Sucker Channel is where the 11 birds were found dead last year. Four of those 11 were tested, with results positive for lead poisoning. The trumpeter swan found at Sucker Channel this week has been sent to the University of Minnesota Diagnostic Lab for necropsy and testing.
Vadnais Lake Area Water Management Organization has a theory about how the swans are being poisoned:
"Swans use their long necks to reach the bottom and pick up stones to grind food in their gizzard. Lead sinkers are just the right size for the job, so swans pick them up preferentially. Sinkers get ground up in their gizzard and incorporated into body tissue. These carcasses pose a risk to scavengers and pets that might feed on them."
The group is urging the public to keep an eye out for more dead swans and for anglers to avoid using lead fishing tackle, instead opting for tin, tungsten, steel, glass and other non-lead alternatives.
The dead swan on the north end of the lake cannot be safely retrieved, so it will stay there for the time being. Anyone who finds a dead swan is asked to report it by calling 651-204-6070.