Not long after the snow leaves the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, the wetlands near Brigham City are covered with another field of white: tens of thousands of tundra swans.

When the migratory birds stop over in Northern Utah, the wildlife refuge celebrates their arrival with the annual Swan Day festival. On Saturday, more than 400 people visited the refuge for the event.

'Today is really a celebration of a great spring day,' said Kathi Stopher, Bear River’s Visitor Services Manager.

During a warm, but winding, day children created swan related art projects while biologists from Utah and Idaho answered questions and passed around huge swan wings in the visitor center. Out in the field, spotting scopes and telephoto lenses were set up to observe the birds while refuge staff took visitors on tours of sections of the wetlands that are usually closed to the public.

One of the highlights of the tours was a flock of snow geese numbering in the thousands. As the tundra swans begin to leave the region for their northern summer home, the slightly smaller snow geese are filling in behind them.

(1) comment


I've never been to Brigham City or the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge before. It looks like an amazing place to visit. I would love to see the beautiful Tundra Swans. I'll plan to be there for Swan Day in March of 2017. Trip: UTA from downtown Salt Lake City to Brigham City= 56 minutes. Then 2.9 miles via W Forest St. I send a big "Thank You" to Benjamin Zack for the great photographs and article.

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