Monday, January 23, 2012
Swans on the Kenai Peninsula
If you are a birder, there's no doubt the Kenai Peninsula is great place to be. There's quite a range of migratory birds and the largest of them all is the swan.
There are three types of swans in the world: trumpeter, tundra, and whooper. The most common, and what you'll find on the peninsula, are trumpeter swans. Although the population is healthy today this has not always been the case. In the early 1900's trumpeter swans were nearly extinct. In 1932 there were only 69 wild trumpeters in the world. Today, through protective measures, there are over 13,000 swans and 80%-85% of them are in Alaska.
Swans pair with mates for life. Females will lay 2 to 7 eggs and as adults a male will weigh up to 28lbs and a female up to 22lbs.
In the fall swans leave their breeding grounds in Alaska and migrate to the western coasts of Canada. After a winter of feeding and growing they will make their return in the spring.
On your drive from Anchorage to Kenai make sure to keep your camera ready. Great viewing places for trumpeter swans are at Potter's Marsh on the Seward Highway (just outside of Anchorage), and Tern Lake at the junction of the Seward Highway and Sterling Highway. Once you're in Kenai an accessible place for swan viewing is at the mouth of the Kenai River along the Bridge Access road.