Tundra Swans at Home in the Landscape of Bear River MBR

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Tundra Swans in the landscape of Bear River MBRTundra Swans in the landscape of Bear River MBR – Nikon D810, f11, 1/1250, ISO 500, Nikkor 18-200mm at 200mm, natural light

Last week I shared some of the photos I had taken of Tundra Swans at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in flight and lifting off from the marshes plus one image of the swans in a landscape type of photo at 18mm so today I wanted to share a few more of the Tundra Swans showing the habitat where we find these big, white birds at the refuge a little bit closer up.

I wish I could adequately explain in words how amazing it is to visit the refuge when the Tundra Swans are here in the winter, the sounds of them calling is just as breathtaking and touching to me as the calls of Sandhill Cranes, those calls touch something deep inside of me.

Tundra Swans in the marshes of Bear River MBRTundra Swans in the marshes of Bear River MBR – Nikon D810, f11, 1/1250, ISO 500, Nikkor 18-200mm at 200mm, natural light

The calls of these swans have echoed over these marshes for eons and when I think about how much we have done to change their lives in just a few centuries a whirl of emotions wrap around me, some of those feelings are hard to deal with because we have altered their habitat, we have hunted them and we have polluted their “home” but mostly I take delight in their presence. The swans continue to come back, year after year to spend their winters in the marshes that surround the Great Salt Lake.

Winter Tundra Swan landscapeWinter Tundra Swan landscape – Nikon D810, f11, 1/1600, ISO 500, Nikkor 18-200mm at 105mm, natural light

The Tundra Swans are truly at home in the landscape of Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and they belong there as much as the mountains, marshes, other birds, animals, fish, sky and the clouds overhead do. Me, I’m just a frequent and thoroughly enchanted visitor to the place where they are so very much at home during the winter.

Life is good.


Note: Typically at this time of the year the mountains in the background would be covered in snow but this year the extremely mild winter and lack of snow made a big difference visually. I miss winter.


  1. Patty Chadwick February 10, 2018 at 5:02 pm

    Birds are beautiful and serene…snowless mountsins are scary!!! Sure hope you get spring rsins to avoid drought! But then woukd worry about flooding…

  2. Pepe Forte February 10, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Wonderful pics Mia. You do such a great job with your landscape shots. And…the swans are beautiful.

    But not so much the barren hills behind. It’s as though Old Man Winter took the year off. Very disappointing.

  3. April Olson February 10, 2018 at 8:57 am

    Tundra Swans are a favorite of mine too. Normally the water is still mostly frozen over this time of year too. Amazing how much open water for this time of year. I guess that is why the pelicans are here early.

    Beautiful photos of an irreplaceable place.

  4. Laura Culley February 10, 2018 at 8:55 am

    Thank you for sharing images of the swans’ home. And yes, we have done much to harm them, which fills me with unmitigated sorrow. That they persist in their survival, despite our stupidity, fills my heart with joy. I’ve heard those magnificent sounds, and like you, they resonate in my soul, in that deep place of calm, serene joy. We NEED our wild places. We NEED to come to the realization that we NEED to share this spinning rock with those of us who came before and who were here long before we arrived.

  5. LSClemens February 10, 2018 at 8:46 am


  6. Ken Schneider February 10, 2018 at 8:07 am

    The swans are wonderful indeed, and your capture of the mountains and sky amplify my sense of awe.

  7. Bob mcpherson February 10, 2018 at 7:42 am

    Love the photos, Mia.

  8. Liz Cormack February 10, 2018 at 7:39 am

    To see no snow on the mountains at this time of year is scary. Heart sickening scary. I love the calls of the Tundra Swans. Is that more of them in the background?

  9. Steve February 10, 2018 at 6:27 am


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