This Tundra Swan, flying with her mates, was banded U455 with a blue neckband on July 26, 2008 on the Noatak River Delta in northwest Alaska. She probably flew as high as 25,000 feet, without oxygen, heat or cabin pressure on her trip to the Delta. Amazing.
U455 flying in formation with her mates
Imagine nesting in the wild marshes and bogs under the cold pristine Arctic skies every summer, mating, raising chicks and, when the cold snows start and your chicks are ready, packing up your family and flying down to winter-over on Staten Island in the Delta. A few other places too, most are in northern California or western Nevada. Such is the life of the snow white Tundra Swans. Doesn’t sound too bad; I wouldn’t mind summering on the tundra.
Few birds are as gracefully majestic as these visitors are. Rarely alone, they mostly fly in small formations between the shallow lakes where they overnight and their daytime feeding grounds. During the day they do seem to fly back and forth for no discernible reason, calling out as they go. Tundra Swans, Tundras in Flight
The Tundras reside in the Delta from late September to late February, mingling with the Sandhill Cranes, Snow Geese and other migrants.
Here the Swans are catching up to a formation of Sandhill Cranes, visitors not from Alaska but from Northern California and Eastern Oregon. The Sandhill Cranes from Alaska winter mostly in Nebraska.
The Tundra Swan has an exceptionally long neck that makes it look like it is racing forward. The graceful long neck with the mass of its weight far back along its silhouette makes for a very stable bird.
The Tundra Swans slow and deliberate wing beats add to its gracefulness in flight.
For more information about banding Tundra Swans, their habitat, migration routes and many photographs, please go to:
You can see the Tundra Swans at the Lodi Crane Festival in early November (in 2010 it will be the 5th through the 7th). http://www.cranefestival.com/ Phone 800/581‑6150.
Or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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