Currently, Tundra Swans are filling the air and fields of area farmlands here in northeast Wisconsin. Last year I waited too long to see this phenomena and saw only a small flock, literally the tail end. Wisconsin is a midway point for these swans who spend their spring and summers in the tundra of Alaska and northern Canada. Typically we think of birds migrating pretty much north and south, but Tundras fly north in a diagonal from our SE Atlantic coastal region, across the Great Lakes and rest for a few days in Wisconsin. This area provides the perfect resting station with the abundance of cornfields and flooded farmlands and marshes.
We were prompted today to head 20 mi NW of Appleton to the Shiocton area to see the large flocks amassed in the fields. The tip came from a local outdoor wildlife and gardening columnist, “the Yard MD”, who has a large following on Facebook and in the local papers.
Rob Zimmer, the Yard MD, said the swans were in the fields feeding and resting by day and in the area ponds by night. He also told us that after a couple days they will continue their journey, in the darkness of night, NW toward their final destination to nest and breed until Fall.
Instinctively, the birds have arrived at the perfect time,with the last of our snow melted. Although they will experience some snowy conditions tomorrow. The area rivers and wetlands are finally beginning to open up with the handful of warmer days that we have had over the last week.
On our return trip back to Appleton, we came across a field filled with a flock of Canadian Geese taking advantage of a free food stop, at another farm cornfield. A fun adventure to have and thankful for the sharing of this information from local bird watchers.
our mobile Ham Radio made showing our trip (in blue) to the area around the Mack State Wildlife Area where we saw the swans and geese.