Spring has sprung in the mountains! Several of the frozen lakes are starting to thaw and within the past week Canada Geese have returned and the Tundra swans have stopped in on their long migration north.
With only limited options for food and open water, this swan made sure the goose gave way when it came over to investigate the open shoreline.
After gobbling up all the available food the swans went searching for other options. Unable to break through the ice, the smaller of the two birds waited for the other one to lead the way. The larger bird would heave itself up onto the thin ice and use its body weight to break through. Occasionally the smaller of the two would nudge the bigger bird forward until they eventually reached the next feeding area.
After about 40 minutes of feeding and preening they started nodding their heads and making soft calls to each other. Their heading nodding increased and the chatter grew louder as they built up their motivation to take flight. Between now and May they will fly 6000km to their breeding and summer feeding grounds in northern Canada and Alaska. It’s always great to see them when they pass through Banff.