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:
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.