Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tundra Swans

Photos courtesy of the Wildlife Services.
I can hardly contain my excitement today to tell you about the latest migrating birds on the pond. I went out yesterday morning with a cup of coffee to walk around the acre and as I looked out I seen two of the most regal and beautiful birds I have seen in a while. They were  male and female Tundra Swans. I could hardly believe my eyes as we have not had any of those stop by for a visit for about 20 years. One of the last ones to show up on the pond  met his demise as somehow he got tangled in an electric wire and died. It was so sad. Even the DNR could not figure out why it seeing them out on the pond swan-tipping  was soooo exciting. In case you are wondering what swan-tipping is, I have included a photo of a swan tipping into the water to retrieve his food from the bottom of the pond. I was able to watch them for about an hour  tipping into the water with their heads disappearing and then coming back up with their prize. Their necks are so long that they were even able to come right up to the ice rim of the pond and extend their necks under the ice to find their food. So here are some facts about Tundra Swans. Their size is about 50'-54" long. The males and females look the same. They do not differ in color or markings like some birds do. Male and female both build their nests and they have one brood a year usually 4-5 eggs. It takes about 35-40 days to incubate and both share in this task. Their food is plants and aquatic insects. They nest on the tundra of northern Canada and Alaska, hence its common name. Migration is diagonally across North America to reach wintering grounds along the East Coast. They are often seen in family groups of up to 20 birds. (maybe these two were mad at the relatives.)  The young are easy to distinguish by their overall gray color. They give a high-pitched whistling like call.

I do wish my camera was of better quality and then I could take my own close-up photos of the migrating birds. Well, maybe some day I will invest in one and until then public domain photos are nice to be able to use. I am off to pour a cup of coffee for Mike and I. We are going out back to see what birds are visiting today. 


  1. What a joy!! it must be for you guys to watch those amazing and beautiful swans! Migration has got to be the most wonderful time on that pond of yours, watching each day to see what's stopping by on their route back home.
    Our God is an awesome God Creator Sustainer.

  2. It is a joy and my favorite time of year for that very reason. You are absolutely right about how awesome God is.