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Avian Species - Tundra Swan


General Information

Twice a year, Tundra Swans migrate 6,000 km between breeding areas in Alaska and The Canadian Arctic and wintering areas in eastern and western North America. Approximately 150 pairs of tundra swans nest on the coastal plain. Tundra swans feed on the following plants: foxtail and other grasses, wild celery, pondweeds, smartweeds, square-stem spike rush , arrowhead, coontail, mermaid weed, muskgrasses, bulrushes, horsetail, wigeon grass, and bur reed. Rice and barley are eaten in stubble fields. Tundra swans also feed on waste corn in both dry and flooded fields and upon harvested potatoes. These swans commonly fly as far as 10 to 15 miles (16-24 km) inland to glean waste corn and soybeans and to browse upon shoots of winter wheat. Animals that prey on tundra swans include: Golden Eagles, jaegers, wolves, foxes, and bears.

Critical Time Periods

Tundra swans start nesting between May and late June, depending on location and weather. During fall migration, tundra swans leave their major breeding grounds in the 1002 area in late September and early October. For their spring migration, tundra swans leave their central California winter grounds in mid-February, and most of the birds have departed within 3 weeks. By early April almost all of them have migrated north to Alaska and Canada.


Scientists believe that new Tundra swan pairs are less likely to establish themselves on lakes where humans reside. They are extremely sensitive to noise pollution and as a
result, inadvertent disturbance can cause adult swans to abandon their nests and cygnets.


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