Sunday, March 31, 2013

Tundra Swan

Tundra Swan - Cygnus columbianus
Lewis and Clark reported the bird near the Columbia river, which explains the species name.
Tundra Swans "stacked up" and ready to land on Frank Lake
Tundra swans winter in the United States, and during March and April, while there is often still snow on the ground, these majestic birds migrate through Alberta to the Arctic where they nest. Swans mate for life. 
This Easter long weekend I counted more than a thousand swans on the lakes and sloughs south and east of Calgary. 

Swans flew over Langdon slough but they didn't land.
I heard them approach from the north and tracked them with my Canon.  

They circled around me and flew southeast into the morning sun, which allowed these grey silhouette photos. 
Tundra Swans flying over Frank Lake March 2013

Swans encountered in Alberta during late spring and summer are more likely Trumpeter Swans, which are larger but otherwise almost identical, but which nest throughout Alberta.


The Atlas of Breeding Birds of Alberta. Federation of Alberta Naturalists. 2007.

Baicich PJ, Harrison CJO. Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds. Princeton UP. 2005.

Fisher C, Acorn J. Birds of Alberta. Lone Pine Publishing. Edmonton. 1998.

Sibley David A. The Sibley Guide to Bird Life & Behavior. Alfred A Knopf, Inc. New York. 2001.

Scotter GW, Ulrich TJ, Jones EJ. Birds in the Canadian Rockies. Prairie Books. Saskatoon. 1990.

Tudge Colin. The Bird. Crown Publishers. New York. 2008.


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