The cygnet processing in May had three goals; 1) pinioning, 2) microchipping, and 3) gender testing from blood feathers. From the time capturing was initiated, the ideal result was to do it all in a matter of four hours. We came close.
Only recently we were able to assess the results. The pinioning was a success. The microchipping, which used a smaller capsule that was injected into the breast tissue, is in doubt as recent scanning failed to find the chips. Hopefully, a more powerful scanner will do the trick. But the most disappointing was gender testing. Three of the eight tests were "good", while the other five were "inconclusive". In my book, all were then inconclusive.
Wow, does this mean that the two same gender pairs from 2013 are really of the same gender? Believe me, I will be scrutinizing the behavior going on out there and a "divorce" and "re-pairing" could be on the horizon. I hope not.
For 2015, the cygnets will only undergo pinioning in May. When they are captured in December, they will receive a full-size microchip and have a vial of blood drawn from their legs. It's more work since they will have to be be penned for a week and the veterinarian will have to make a "house call". But the end result will be much greater certainty, and that is really important for pairing and population control.