Tundra Swans on University Bay
Mallards and Canada geese, year-round residents of University Bay, have lots of company these days. Tundra swans have arrived from the Arctic on their migration south following still open waters, and mingle among the residents. During times of strong west winds they gather along the western shore of the Bay in the wind shadow of the Picnic Point, easily visible from the path. They forage for food by "dabbling at the water surface, dipping the head underwater, or upending with tail up and head straight down." (Audubon) Since they can reach 3 feet below the surface with their long necks, they find lots of food along the Picnic Point shoreline and in the shallow Bay. Once ice begins to form on the Bay later in December, they will forage along the ice edge and take breaks for "sunning" or sitting on the ice. Tundra swans are most talkative. They produce a mellow bugling call, hoo-ho-hoo, claiming the air waves and creating a sense of wilderness in the midst of Madison. Come and see these beautiful birds. Read more about migratory birds in University Bay in the Winter Newsletter. Photos Gisela Kutzbach
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Gisela Kutzbach and contributors