Tundra swans flock to Lake Winnebago - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Tundra swans flock to Lake Winnebago


While not everyone may be enjoying the cold spring, the weather is most likely responsible for an unusual but enjoyable sight on Lake Winnebago.

It's a sound and a sight Pat Doemel hasn't heard in decades.

"It's been the first time in 40 years that they've been in the bay, so we've been just thrilled," say Doemel about the swans that have flocked to Northeast Wisconsin. Specifically to Lake Winnebago, north of Menominee Park, behind the homes on Hickory Lane.

"Initially last week there were about a hundred here, and then over the weekend there were a couple hundred. So, I don't know where they're migrating to or how long they'll stay, but we're just enjoying them when they're here," adds Doemel.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, the majestic visitors are Tundra swans, most likely making their way up to Canada after migrating south to Virginia for the winter.

"What makes them unique is they're the largest bird species in North America," Joe Henry, District Ecologist for the DNR, said. "And so, where you see one, you often see many of them and so that's part of the excitement. They're easy to see, and then when you see one there's usually many."

While not unusual to see Tundra swans in Northeast Wisconsin in the spring, since it's part of their flight path north, their visit to Lake Winnebago is somewhat unexpected as they usually look for land to loaf.

"Sometimes they get grounded because the weather is not great for flying," Henry said. "Also, they just get tired and so they use the opportunity to rest and feed if they can find food, but usually it's just resting for a few days or even a few hours."

So with the changing weather patterns and a warm up on the way, the swans could be airborne and gone soon.

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