Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center

Tundra Swans on the Upper Mississippi River
Center Fact Sheets

Tundra Swans on the Upper Mississippi River

As fall foliage peaks in color on the bluffs along the Upper Mississippi River (UMR), the high-pitched bugling calls of thousands of tundra swans resonate from the once-quiet backwaters of the river. An abundant food supply and relatively undisturbed resting sites make the UMR an important staging area for tundra swans (Cygnus columbianus columbianus) during fall migration.

Prior to the 1970s, only “small numbers” of tundra swans consistently stopped along the Mississippi River on their way to wintering grounds in the Chesapeake Bay. In recent years, fall swan numbers on the UMR have swelled to more than 30,000 during late November.

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Tundra Swans on the Upper Mississippi River


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Abundance and Distribution of Plant Foods Used by Migratory Waterfowl on Selected Pools of the Upper Mississippi River

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Page Last Modified: April 3, 2018