Monday, November 15, 2010


Each fall tundra swans migrate from their breeding grounds up at the Arctic Circle down to the coastal waters of the continental United States. At the same time many birders and photographers, like myself, head down to Brownsville, MN.
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.


Kerri Farley said...

Oh, they are lovely!

Anonymous said...

Wow - magnificent shots of the swans!

Maboe said...

Great shots!

Sylvia K said...

I wish that frequently concerning people being more like swans!! Your photos a superb as always! I love swans and we see them frequently at the bird sanctuary, but not in these numbers! Marvelous! Hope you have a great week!


KaHolly said...

Aren't they just beautiful? When I lived in Massachusetts, on the Rhode Island border, I used to watch them gather in the fall. Hundreds of them. Such a sight. Thanks for a wonderful post today! ~karen

Penelope Notes said...

Gorgeous pictures of swans in motion. I saw swans recently during a visit to Lucerne in Switzerland. Never expected to see them there and rarely see them in BC where I live. A study of birds shows they go through incredible ordeals when they migrate. Thanks for sharing a part of their journey.:)

Nicolette said...

Wow, wonderful photographs of the swans. Really beautiful.

Arija said...

Whenever I hear the of the terrors perpetrated by humans, I very much wish we were more like swans. What is a little hair pulling wnen compared to knifings and shootings?

Superb swan photos and migration info.
The only time I have had the opportunity to enjoy large numbers of swans was in Iceland on Muvatter (lake of mosquitos) where the singing swans congregated and sang all night.

LivingSoAbundantly said...

You totally captured their attitudes and everything! Great job! :0)

msdewberry said...

Those swans are beautiful and graceful! How awesome to be able to see them in such numbers. Great photos!

lotusleaf said...

Yes, I wish people were more like swans. Your images are simply beautiful.

Joe Todd said...

Birds of a feather are lovely

sunflowerkat said...

Out here on Long Island, we have swans all year round. Not only are the beautiful, they're fascinating to watch (even though the can get pretty cranky).

This is my first visit here. Your photos are beautiful and I love your statement of purpose. As a card carrying "tree hugger" and bird photography enthusiast, I look forward to following you from now on.


BraCom said...

sorry for the late reaction, but I had to do my job the whole day

Beautiful My World Tuesday posting

Have a nice week,
Greetings, Bram

Link to My Word Tuesday post!

Seen on My World Tuesday