OVANDO, Mont. (AP) — Five yearling swans were released into a wetland near Ovando in an ongoing effort to reintroduce the birds to the Blackfoot River Valley of western Montana.

And the process is starting to pay off.

Wednesday's release marks the seventh year of an effort by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks; the Blackfoot Challenge and local landowners to restore the white, long-necked birds to the valley.

Federal biologist Greg Neudecker says about 140 swans have been released over the years. The seven cygnets that hatched last year were the first documented swans to be born in the Blackfoot in more than a century.

Biologists have confirmed three swan nests in the area, but Neudecker says there are likely four or five. The goal is seven breeding pairs.