Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tundra swans make whistle stop

                                                             Swans congregate south of Rose Lake/Ralph Bartholdt

Sunday Morning with the late-Charles Kuralt once had a segment on the Tule Lake Wildlife Refuge at the California-Oregon border .
The segment showed the plethora of shore and water birds including ducks, geese and swans that use the area for a winter holding and feeding ground. It ended with the overwhelming, and solemnic sounds of the birds quacking, whistling and honking, a sound that could be heard for miles.
Spring in North Idaho brings a similar orchestra.
The chain lakes of the Coeur d’Alene River from Cataldo to Harrison  is a year-round duck and goose factory, but in March these birds are accompanied by Tundra Swans. Thousands of the gabbling, bugling, clucking, rattling and squealing swans mix with the already numerous Canada geese and migrating fowl to make for great bird watching, or just a nice listening stop.
The birds can be easily observed and heard along State Highway 3 near the old Blue Lagoon roadhouse at Lane, and south to Medimont.
Tundra swans usually overwinter in the central Rocky and Western States with Utah’s Great Salt Lake Basin being a hotspot. In spring they begin their migration north to Alaska and the Canadian tundra. Spring observers have reported as many as 3,000 swans a day on the chain lakes.
Here’s a link that shows the difference between tundra swans and trumpeters :

-Ralph Bartholdt

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