Tundra swans

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Tundra swans (Anseriformes: Anatidae: Cygnus columbianus) photographed 03/22/2014 near Blissfield, Michigan.

The other day my parents’ southeast Michigan farm received an uncommon visit by a bevy of tundra swans (Anseriformes: Anatidae: Cygnus columbianus). Fed by the melt of our record-breaking snowfall, the flooded field must have presented a welcome resting area for these migratory waterfowl. Every spring these swans leave their winter ranges near the east and west coasts of the United States and migrate northward. They spend summers in the Canadian and Alaskan Arctic, breeding, nesting, and raising their young.

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Tundra swans (Anseriformes: Anatidae: Cygnus columbianus) photographed 03/22/2014 near Blissfield, Michigan.

While floating in the shallow floodwater these swans exhibited their typical feeding behavior, known as “dabbling.” They duck their heads under the water and forage for plants, seeds, mollusks, and arthropods beneath the surface:

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Dabbling tundra swan (Anseriformes: Anatidae: Cygnus columbianus) photographed 03/22/2014 near Blissfield, Michigan.

When the swans first appeared on the scene they really startled and scattered the abundant Canada geese (Anseriformes: Anatidae: Branta canadensis) that were already present. Before long, however, the two species were mingling together and sharing the ample resources the area had to offer.

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Tundra swans (Anseriformes: Anatidae: Cygnus columbianus) and Canada geese (Anseriformes: Anatidae: Branta canadensis) photographed 03/22/2014 near Blissfield, Michigan.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Vertebrate Zoology and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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