December 2, 2016

Tundra Swans Return to Mirror Lake Marks the Beginning of Winter For Me

By: Mary Pellegrini

The Tundra Swans arrive sometime in November.  This year they arrived the week of November 13.  At least that’s when we first spotted them in the Columbia River Gorge this season.  Mirror Lake is at the foot of Crown Point, visible from Interstate 84 just west of the Rooster Rock exit. The Lake can host upwards of 100 Tundra Swans, although as of yesterday only a few had arrived from their Arctic tundra nesting grounds. The Scenic Columbia River Gorge is just one of Oregon’s 7 Wonders near the Old Parkdale Inn.  The other being majestic Mt Hood.

Tundra Swans dine on plant material, slugs, snails, insects and crayfish, and typically weigh from 10 to 18 pounds, averaging about 53 inches in length.  They mate for life and travel in family groups in roundtrip migrations of up to 3,725 miles.

Tundra Swans winter here and share space with Hooded Merganser, Mallards, Green-winged Teal, Northern Pintail, Bufflehead, Song Sparrow, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Steller’s Jay, Black-capped Chickadee.

Look closely at the photo for Mallards, a Great Blue Heron and a Hooded Merganser.

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