Wild swans will be migrating through Utah during the month of March.

BRIGHAM CITY — The majestic swans are currently migrating through Utah and can be seen in two places in Box Elder County. One of the places to find them is at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge near Brigham City and the other place is Compton’s Knoll at the Salt Creek Wildlife Management Area, about 12 miles northwest of Corinne. This is only one of the unique bird species that migrate through the Beehive State this time each year.

FILE PHOTO: Every spring Tundra Swans migrate on their way to their nesting grounds in the arctic. Photo by David Thielen on Unsplash

The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge encompasses 80,000 acres of a variety of habituates where the Bear River and its delta flows into the northern part of the Great Salt Lake in eastern Box Elder County.

Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the refuge has open water, mudflats, wetlands, and uplands to support the many bird species that migrate there. The refuge also has an Auto Tour Route that goes through some choice areas  to see birds other than the swan.

To reach the Bear River Refuge Auto Tour route, exit I-15 at exit 363, and travel west on West Forest Street until you come to a large parking area with an observation tower. Stop at the tower to look for swans in the marsh to the north. You can then drive along the 12-mile auto tour route. The route will take you on a journey through the heart of the refuge. You could see thousands of swans in the wetlands along the driving route.

Compton’s Knoll is a small hill on the southeast side of the Salt Creek Waterfowl Management Area. It is a perfect place to view swans and other birds. The hill places you above the marsh, providing fantastic viewing opportunities for those who have binoculars or spotting scopes. Two bird viewing blinds are also located at the bottom of the hill.

This is only one of the unique bird species that migrates through Utah each year.

File photo of swans flying in Box Elder County marshes.

For avid birdwatchers who have swans on their bucket list, this is one of two spots in northern Utah these magnificent birds can be found as they wing their way through the state during their spring migrations.

Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the refuge has open water, mudflats, wetlands, and uplands to support the many bird species that migrate there. The refuge also has an Auto Tour Route that goes through some choice areas   to see birds other than the swan.

There are two types of swans that can be seen migrating through Utah during different times of the year. Both tundra swans and trumpeter swans stop in Utah’s wetlands for some much-needed rest and refueling during their migration north in the spring.

The Trumpeter swan is significantly larger than tundra swans. Trumpeter swans do not have a yellow-colored area near their eyes, and they also make a distinctive trumpet-like sound, hence their name. The bird’s spring migration takes the swans from wintering grounds in California to nesting sites in Canada and Alaska.

“Swans are amazing birds to see in flight,” Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Northern Region Outreach Manager Mark Hadley said. “You’ll have no problem spotting them — they’re huge and almost pure white in color.”

Mute swans have one mate their entire life, but when one mate dies they will generally find another.

While the peak time to see them in the spring is typically March, you can often see them in Utah during their fall migration as well, typically in early-to-mid November.

Besides the two wildlife viewing areas sometimes migrating swans can be spotted at the DWR’s George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Wildlife Education Center and Hasenyager Preserve. The DWR’s Eccles Wildlife Education Center is part of the Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area. The WMA is closed to vehicle traffic from March 1 until September, but the education center is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.







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