Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tundra Swans (Cygnus columbianus)

I see from the swan migration map that two of our Colville Delta satellite implant birds are back in Alaska, and the others are bunched up near the Mackenzie River Delta..  There are 10 pair of swans that are from this area that had satellite transmitters implanted in the female of the pair.  This way they are able to track their migration patterns and learn important staging and timing when they leave and return to the Arctic nesting areas.  We are looking forward to the pair that nests on our island and hopefully they will use the same nest site as last year.  If they do we will be able to watch the activity around the nest site right from our kitchen window!


You can follow the swans either on the link to the Alaska Science Center web site, that lets follow the migration of the 50 Tundra Swans USGS implanted with satellite transmitters in Alaska in 2008.

The other Swan Research Program site covers just the birds from the North Slope of Alaska and can be found at .

Besides the tracking information and maps there is a more detailed description  of the banding and data collecting from the tundra swan project.


This photo shows the neck collar worn by the male, just faintly the satellite antenna on the female is just visible in front of the tail.  This is the pair that nests near our home.

The lower picture is a close-up view of the male T346


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Arctic Smoke Signals by James W. Helmericks is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.