Birds’ Utah stopover: When the weather gets warmer, the swans head for Alaska or Canada

Photo courtesy of the Division of Wildlife Resources
As many as 35,000 swans are in Utah when the swan migration peaks in mid-...
Story by Standard-Examiner staff
March 9, 2011
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Standard-Examiner staff

The tundra swan chooses Great Salt Lake and surrounding wetlands as one of its favorite wintering grounds, and now is the peak time in Utah to see this majestic bird.

You can see hundreds or even thousands of tundra swans in Northern Utah this time of year, and the state’s official Tundra Swan Day provides an ideal introduction to the birdwatching event. The wildlife viewing will be held Saturday at three locations in Northern Utah.

The Division of Wildlife Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will host Utah’s annual Tundra Swan Day this Saturday. Admission is free.

Viewing will take place at three sites — Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area west of Farmington, Salt Creek WMA west of Corinne and the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge west of Brigham City.

Viewing at the Farmington Bay and Salt Creek WMAs runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Spotting scopes will be available so you can get a close look at the swans.

Viewing at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge runs from sunrise to sunset. You can watch swans from your vehicle as you drive along the refuge’s auto tour route.

Before heading to the refuge, stop by its Wildlife Education Center at 2155 W. Forest St. in Brigham City. The center has maps and more information about the refuge. It is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

To reach the center, exit I-15 at Exit 363. After you’ve left the freeway, turn west. The center is about one block west of the freeway.

You can learn more about Tundra Swan Day by listening to the latest DWR radio show. The show is available at wildlife.utah.gov/radio.

You can also call the DWR’s Northern Region office at 801-476-2740 or the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge at 435-723-5887.

If you can’t attend this Saturday’s event, you can still get out and watch swans on your own.

The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge is one of the best places to visit. You can see hundreds of swans along the refuge’s 12-mile auto tour loop.

As many as 35,000 swans are in Utah when the swan migration peaks in mid-March. The local population tapers off as the weather warms and the swans begin migrating northward to their breeding grounds in the Arctic tundra of Alaska and Canada.

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OGDEN NATURE CENTER

The Ogden Nature Center is located at 966 W. 12th St. in Ogden. For more information, visit www.ogdennaturecenter.org or call 801-621-7595.

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