Swans Stop In Utah On Long Journey Home

Feb 26, 2014

Warm temperatures and melting ice mean many swans will soon be arriving in Northern Utah. Tundra Swans nest in Alaska, but spend their winters in the warmer waters of California and Texas. Kathy Stoffer from the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge says the swans pause in Utah each spring to fill their stomachs on the long journey home.

Tundra swans migrate through Utah each spring.
Credit FWS

“They come down from Alaska, they follow the water opening up following the food source, which in this case, is sago pondweed that grows in the deeper water on the refuge,” Stoffer said.

The swans are motivated to get home to their nesting grounds, so the length of their stay in Utah generally depends on the weather to the north and the availability of food in the state.

Stoffer says Utah sees swans migrating home from various wintering grounds.

“The beauty about the Bear River Refuge is that it is central to both the Pacific Flyway on the Pacific Coast and the Central Flyway. We get birds that crossover from both of these migratory zones to utilize the resources,” she said.

Swans feed on sago pondweed.
Credit FWS

The Brigham City-based bird refuge will be holding an event on March 8 to give the public a closer look at the swans.