Tundra Swan Migration - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Tundra Swan Migration


BROWNSVILLE, Minn. (KKTC) -- For many people, fall isn't complete without viewing the Tundra Swan.  Other than the colder temperatures, it's another sign a new season is fast approaching

For about one month these spectacular creatures eat-up and rest up right in our own back yard, so that they can continue on their remarkable journey.

Every October these Tundra Swans leave their home in the Arctic Tundra and make a Pit-Stop in Southeastern MInnesota.

"The Rule of thumb is location, location, location. We have a lot of great habitat right here that we've constructed for the swans, they have a lot of food and a lot of shelter here," says Sue Fletcher of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Refuge

The Ambassador Academy in Rochester is starting to learn about the Tundra Swan, so this afternoon a field trip was in order.

"When we first go here we saw them playing duck duck goose, or swan sawn goose," says Madelynn Mikkalson, a student at Ambassador Academy.

"We saw some earlier that were fighting, but I don't see any right now. There go two," said Ricky Eipelding, another student.


Thousands of people from all over make the trip each season to watch the swans make their journey.

"I live about a half hour from here in northeast Iowa.  I used to go up to Alma, but they built these nice observatories, these nice overlooks, so I don't have to drive as far. It's nice," said Adam Newman, a visitor.

How do they know where they are going?

"Migration is a mystery, we don't exactly know how birds do it, but they do come here year after year after year and they just know to come here and they come here in family groups so the whit swans that are out here are the adults, and the gray ones are the, and they are making their first migration here. Now once they get here they will know to come here year after year after year," said Fletcher

For the kids on the field trip, seeing the birds in person helped with the learning process.

"When you just talk about it it just doesn't seem the same as just seeing the up face and close," said Josiah Kirk, a student 

"I got up really early and got everything packed and it was just kind of exciting, I had never gone to never see a swan before," said Madelynn Mikkalson

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