Mar 12 2014

It’s On!

Published by at 7:20 am under Migration,Water and Shore

Tundra swans at Middle Creek (photo by Dave Kerr)

Despite today’s awful forecast, despite the prediction of 7oF tomorrow morning, gusty winds and up to 2″ of snow, be assured that spring is here.  The tundra swans are back!

This morning at 4:45am I awoke to the whoo-ing call of swans in flight.  I opened the window and … Yes!  a flock of tundra swans was flying over my city neighborhood in the dark.

At that moment it was 49oF with no rain and a light wind out of the east-northeast, almost perfect flying weather for birds heading northwest.  Their goal is the Arctic coastal tundra from Alaska to Baffin Island.  In the fall they typically fly 1,000 miles non-stop from Minnesota to Chesapeake Bay but they make the trip in easy stages in the spring, pausing to wait for the lakes to thaw.

“My” swans were probably heading for Pymatuning and Lake Erie where there’s not much open water yet.  Meanwhile other flocks are heading for Middle Creek where the situation is much the same.  But the birds know spring is coming. They’re heading north.

Soon Middle Creek will be filled with the spectacle of snow geese and tundra swans on the move.  Click here for information and a video.

The show is on!

(photo from Middle Creek by Dave Kerr)

5 responses so far

5 Responses to “It’s On!”

  1. Kayon 12 Mar 2014 at 9:04 am

    Kate — on a different note, what’ going on at the Gulf Tower? I have not seen either mom or dad for most of yesterday – or at least when I had the opportunity to view. Checked again this morning and there’s one lonely egg and no falcons.

  2. Harrietton 12 Mar 2014 at 9:41 am

    Kate
    We went to Niagara last Friday for the day and there were at least 17 kinds of gulls, ducks and maybe a 100+ Tundra Swans from Fort Erie down river to the falls via the Parkway. Beautiful. Birds were everywhere and the frozen areas at the falls beautiful, too. Took us forever to get 20 miles!!!!

  3. Kate St. Johnon 12 Mar 2014 at 10:23 am

    Kay, unlike bald eagles, peregrines don’t incubate their eggs until the female has laid her next-to-last egg. Until then they guard the egg(s) from a distance — sometimes off camera — or stand over them in cold/rainy/snowy weather. Tonight when the temperature dips into the single digits Dori will clamp down on the egg(s) to keep them from freezing, but she won’t incubate. This method insures that all the eggs hatch at the same time and all the young are ready to fly and disperse within days of each other. Here is more information on the phenomenon you’re seeing: http://www.wqed.org/birdblog/peregrine-faqs/question-sitting-on-eggs-or-not/

  4. Mary Ann Pikeon 12 Mar 2014 at 3:59 pm

    I saw 2 eggs last time Dori got up (I got a picture)…I missed her laying it though. (Darn work, gets in the way of watching the peregrines!)

  5. Mary Ann Pikeon 13 Mar 2014 at 8:52 am

    Saw two tundra swans this morning on the way to work, in the reservoir along Waterdam Road on the south edge of Peter’s Township in Washington County.

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