Each year thousand of tundra swans stop on their journey across the continent to stage for the rest of their migration on the Mississippi River near Brownsville.
They begin to arrive in late October and they will usually stay until the river freezes up.
They spend most of their time here resting up and feeding in preparation for the rest of the journey. They chose this spot because of the high amount of underwater vegetation present. Tundra swans are primarily vegetarians that use their long necks to find and feed on tubers that are on the muddy bottom of the river.
These tubers are part of the root system of plants like arrowhead, wild celery and pondweed. In the past most of these plants were wiped out by silt that traveled down the river after the loch and dam system was put into place. However over the past decade the US Army Corps of Engineers has built a series of barrier islands in the river to help protect this vital habitat.
Of course any time you have a thousand swans all together in a small stretch of river you are bound to have some tensions which sometimes break out into conflict. But confrontations do not last long and then all the swans go back about their own business. Don't you wish that people were as smart as swans.