Tundra Swan U455

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.

Banded Tundra Swan U455

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.

swans in the morning mist

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.

Tundra Swans joing the Sandhill CranesHere 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.

Tundra Swan in the late sun

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 info@cranefestival.com

Your com­ments & ques­tions much appre­ci­at­ed

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3 Responses to Tundra Swan U455

  1. Pingback: Tundra swans | Edge of Nature

  2. admin says:

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    I am on WordPress.org host­ed on Go Dad­dy. If you are on WordPress.com (the free­bie site), that could make a dif­fer­ence. Oth­er­wise I have no idea.


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