In early spring, the Tundra Swans come by the thousands to feed and rest on the Thedford Bog.
Their annual northward migration starts from their wintering grounds on Chesapeake Bay on the eastern seaboard, in the State of Delaware and ends at their breeding grounds in the Canadian Arctic a journey of over 6000 km. Along the route they stop at ‘staging’ areas – wetlands and fields where they can feed and rest.
The eastern population of Tundra Swans is most frequently encountered either on their wintering grounds along the Atlantic coast from the Chesapeake Bay to North Carolina, or on the reservoirs and lakes of its staging areas of the North American interior.
The swans migrate north in spring to the Canadian Arctic and return south to Delaware in the fall. They will travel over 12,000 km per year on this round trip journey.
The swan migration spans 3 to 4 months, during the late winter-early spring, with swans remaining on staging areas as long as possible to take advantage of available food. The swans migrate quickly across Ontario, Michigan and Wisconsin and then spend considerable time in North Dakota, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, feeding in agricultural fields, before heading to their breeding areas in the Canadian Arctic.
The arrival and departure dates of the Tundra Swans resting on the Thedford Bog varies greatly. Here is a historical view of when the swans have visited our area.
My favorite every fall, is to hear and see the migrating tundra swans flying overhead. I hadn’t seen any this entire fall season until about 8:00 AM on the last day of the deer season, when I heard tundra swans calling overhead, and I knew right away they weren’t geese! About 50 birds flew in magnificent large ‘V’ formation heading southeast towards Chesapeake Bay about 60 miles away, where they winter. These birds were from somewhere along the very northern coast of North America where they breed on the tundra, and could have even been from Alaska, some 6,400 miles away!
Witnessing the snow-white tundra swans flying gracefully overhead against the blue sky, totally made my day!