Utah Field Guide: Tundra swans

Nesting on the high tundra that stretches across North America, the tundra swan holds true to it’s name. A long distance migrator, these birds spend the winter along both coasts as well as here in Utah. However, more swans are sighted in Utah during their migration that happens twice each year.

Roughly 75,000 tundra swans, or nearly 75% of the western population, migrate through the Great Salt Lake area from mid-October through mid-December and again in March through April.

Weighing roughly up to 25 pounds and sporting a 51/2-foot wing span, Tundra swans rely heavily on abundant biomass and food energy available in the submerged aquatic vegetation beds to fuel up before heading to California’s Central Valley in the fall and to northern Canada in the spring.

[Notes:12-3-11 Show has tundra swan hunting on it….]
Utah is one of only a few that allow hunters to hunt these beautiful birds. A special “swan tag” is required to hunt tundra swans in Utah. Hunters should be careful to discern between the numerous Tundra Swans and few numbers of endangered Trumpeter Swans that use the Great Salt Lake during winter as well.

For more information on the tundra swan or any other critter found or migrating through Utah. Check out our Utah Field Guide on our outdoors page at KSLTV.com.

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