Meet the swans that fly 4,000 miles to North Carolina

Sponsored - Eastern North Carolina is rich in wildlife year-round, but each winter, a very special event takes place.  Hundreds of thousands of wild waterfowl arrive from their northern breeding grounds to make North Carolina’s coastal wetlands their winter home.  The most conspicuous of these waterfowl are the large, snowy Tundra Swans, which travel from as far away as Canada’s Northwest and Yukon Territories – that’s a 4,000-mile journey!  So why do they travel so far?

Sylvan Heights Bird Park

North Carolina’s eastern counties provide everything a swan needs in the winter: mild weather, open water that rarely freezes, and most importantly, plentiful food.  Although their natural diet consists of aquatic plants and invertebrates found in lakes and wetlands, the swans have adapted to take advantage of North Carolina’s abundant farmlands, which provide a rich source of grains throughout the season.  

Would you like to see North Carolina’s winter waterfowl for yourself?  Join Sylvan Heights Bird Park’s avian experts on February 17th for a guided trip to Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge! Park educators will take you through migrating waterfowl areas to see ducks, geese, and swans, and finish the day at the Red Wolf Center learning about the world’s most endangered wolf.  Sign up today at