Tundra Swans

Audubon Photography Club Vice President Don Armstrong sent me this picture earlier this month:

On Wednesday, I also had the pleasure of watching flock after flock of them heading north. They were pretty high up in the sky, and weird: I could only see them when I had my polarizing sunglasses on. I tried to snap my own shot, but couldn’t.

Jeff took one of my favorite photos of these gorgeous birds back in 2007:

swans in the mist

We only get to see Tundra Swans in November and March as they are passing through from breeding grounds to wintering grounds and back again. Their call can sound goose like, but they also make a soft cooing sound – so different from the strident honk-hink of the geese – much gentler, and it is this sound I often hear when the flocks are closer to the ground.

Trumpeter Swans look similar to Tundra swans, but their voices are more nasal-honky… and according to Cornell’s range maps, we are not likely to see them here in Western New York.

Cornell lists the Tundra as a species of “least concern” and describes them as being common and possibly increasing. That is good news.  Though I can’t help wonder what will happen to them as the habitat they depend on for breeding succumbs to various threats, including pollution and global warming.

Learn more:

5 thoughts on “Tundra Swans

  1. I love that you have the close up shots of the swans and information about them. I have been seeing them by the hundreds fly over my house this last week but did not know what they were! I photographed them, posted a blog entry, and one of my readers informed me that they are Tundra Swans. I am thrilled and feel honored to have such a rich experience. You can view my photos here if you’d like: http://carlaroyal.com/2010/03/waves-of-winged-wonder/ Thank you for this post, Jennifer!

  2. I believe it was last Wednesday the 17th, we went to the Celeron boat ramp for what we call jokingly call ducking. To our surprise there were hundreds of Tundra Swans on the ice and swimming. As we watched we would hear a rising crescendo of honking and a group of the swans would take flight heading north west. This happened time after time. We would see 5 or 6 flocks in the air at once. We stayed until the last of them flew off. What an awesome, inspiring sight this was.

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