Swan Collaring Protocol
There are extensive collaring efforts for both Trumpeter and Tundra Swans, while the introduced Mute Swan is rarely marked. The recent (1993) protocol for swans calls for different colors for each species as well as differences in the codes. Like Canada Goose collars, swan collars are unique and each collar combination of codes and color is used for only one band number.
Trumpeter Swan with Collar, photo (c) Connie Johnston
- green, red, and yellow collars, all colors used widely in North America.
- 3 character combinations with one letter (LNN, NLN, NNL) (N=Number, L=Letter)
- gray, black or blue collars
- gray collars used on wintering birds in the Atlantic Flyway
- black collars used on migration routes
- blue collars used in the arctic on or near the breeding grounds
- 4 character combinations with the letter first (LNNN) - or -
- 3 character combinations with two letters (LLN, LNL, NLL)
- white collars only
- 4 character combinations with 2 letters first (LLNN)
Because of the recent change in collar protocol for swans, there are Trumpeters with 4-digit collars from the previous protocol. These collars have an LLNN pattern and are often yellow and black. The Mute Swan protocol remains unchanged.