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We’ve spotted the first migrating Tundra Swans…

We’ve recently spotted the first migrating Tundra Swans on the lake and overhead.  They are coming from their summer nesting grounds in the sheltered marshes on the Alaskan and Canadian coast near the Arctic Circle.  The swans migrate through our area on their way to the shallow lakes, ponds, and estuaries along the east coast near the Chesapeake Bay and the marshes of Virginia and North Carolina.  Thankfully, they are not further along in their migration or they would be caught up in the nor’easter hitting the east coast.

Just like Canadian geese, Tundra Swans fly in a V formation.  With a tail wind, they often achieve speeds up to 100 miles per hour.  Flocks have been seen at 6,000 to 8,000 feet.  When you see them, you may notice swans taking a running start to fly.  In order to become airborne, swans face the wind, run along the surface of the water for fifteen to twenty feet, flap their wings, and beat the water with their feet alternately until they achieve sufficient headway.  Then they launch from the water into the air.

Swans feed on vegetation which is why you will find them in shallow lakes and ponds such as Rieck‘s Lake off the Great River Road north of Alma.  In our area that vegetation is mostly wild celery and arrowhead tubers.  They use their feet to uproot the tubers and then reach down into the water with their long necks to retrieve them.  Sometimes they eat farm crops.  As the flock feeds, one swan stands guard to warn of approaching danger. 

The tundra swans will be in our area from now until the water freezes.  Take a drive down the Great River Road and watch the beauty and grace of Tundra Swans as they migrate.  Remember to bring your camera, too.  Make a stop in Stockholm to see what’s new in the stores and savor a tasty fall dish or refreshing beverage at our eateries.

We’d love to see you again,
Stockholm Merchants