MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minnesota’s trumpeter swan population continues to grow, according to a new survey by the Department of Natural Resources’ Nongame Wildlife Program. The population is now estimated to be about 17,000 swans.

“We are extremely pleased and encouraged by the results of the survey,” said Carrol Henderson, DNR Nongame Wildlife Program supervisor.

The trumpeter swan was once eliminated from Minnesota and much of the United States. In the early 1980s, the DNR partnered with other preservation groups to reintroduce the birds to Minnesota.

By 2010, Minnesota had an estimated 6,000 birds. Now, the state boasts the largest population in the upper Midwest.

“Minnesota is one of the best places in the nation to see them,” said Henderson.

The best place to view the swans is north-central Minnesota and west of the Twin Cities, according to the DNR. To continue the restoration, Minnesotans can make a tax-deductible donation, or visit the DNR Nongame Wildlife Program site for more information.