Friday, March 17, 2017

The Tundra Swans

Tundra Swans are part time residents along the mid-Atlantic coastline where I live.

  They migrate to the shallow coastal waters of the Chesapeake Bay and surrounding waterways every autumn. We usually start to see them sometime in November.  They stay all winter, and fly back to the Arctic tundra of Canada and Alaska in March, where they live the remainder of the year, to mate and raise their young. 

 These snowy white birds are very large, weighing up to 35 pounds.
  Some grow to over 4 feet tall, with a wing span of up to 5 feet.  They are very distinctive looking and graceful birds, and can be identified be their long straight necks, and black bills.

They travel and live in flocks,    

and as you can see, they get along harmoniously with other water birds.

You can get an idea of the size of the Tundra swan, 
by comparing it to the Mallard ducks above, and this little Bufflehead duck, below. 

The bay provides plenty to eat for all.  Like the various types of ducks
 in the area, the swans eat aquatic grasses and other plants and seeds.
The swans stretch their long necks down under the water to reach their favorite foods,
 growing on the bottom of the bay.

It is believed that they mate for life,
 and can frequently be seen floating along in pairs within their flocks.

They sleep on the water, with their long necks tucked in around them.

To take flight, they beat their strong wings furiously, until they are airborne,
 as they are large and heavy birds.

They land quite smoothly and gracefully, though.

Any day now, they will be leaving our area, for their long and daunting 3,000 mile migration north.  They fly in "V" formation, or linear flocks.

I will miss their graceful bodies floating peacefully across the water.

Happy weekend to all!

1 comment:

  1. Oh how beautiful that you get to see these beauties.... they're really BIG birds.