Sunday, December 7, 2008

Tundra Swans

One of the nice things about being relatively new to any pastime is the high frequency of new discoveries and experiences related to to it. I've been experiencing that in the realm of birding. As long as four months ago I started really becoming aware of the birds that just pass through my area seasonally from exotic locales. With shorebirds making their stops back then through the southward warbler wave to the recent influx of large waterfowl I've tried to keep abreast of new arrivals via posts on various message boards. Unfortunately free time that coincides with tolerable weather and daylight have been at a premium lately.

But today I finally got a chance to get out and look for one species that has particularly sparked my interest, the Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus.) The fact that these large, beautiful birds breed and summer--such as it is--at the northernmost reaches of North America and then migrate such a great distance to spend their winter on the more temperate coasts is amazing to me. I find it funny that I've been driving past them not much more than a block away for some time now but didn't know to look. It seems almost everywhere I look now there is something of ornithological interest and it doesn't even require travelling to exotic destinations, just a slight diversion from my beaten paths.

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