Documentation of Tundra Swan

Observer Information

Reporter:  Caroline Hecker   
Other Observers:  Nedra hecker; Caroline Hecker

Species, Date, Time and Location Information

Species:  Tundra Swan
First Date/Time:  12/31/2008
Last Date/Time: 
Duration (total time in view):  15 to 20 minutes
County:  Garfield
Specific Location:  Approximately 0.5 mile west of Glenwood Springs exit 116. Devereux Road followed river, then crossed bridge and Two Rivers Park. Bird was seen before the bridge and park when the river was to the left of the road. We were on Devereux Road when we saw the bird. Lat and Long of the bird: 39 deg 31' 17.65" N 107 deg 20' 13.74" W
Number:  1
Age:  Unknown
Sex:  Unknown
Plumage:  Other/Unknown


River rapids, stayed close to the far shore

Viewing Conditions

Optics:  Swarovski 10 x 32 and Eagle Optics 10 x 42 binoculars
Distance:  100
Light:  Clear sky, just prior to dusk. Sun was 90 degrees to the left as we looked at the bird.

Description of the Bird

Just slightly bigger than the Canada geese it was with. Had all white plumage, but was a little roughed up due to wind. We were unable to identify it by the shape of the back. Head was grey with a little dirt showing. Beak was long and black, and in the light we could very clearly see small yellow lores. Yellow streak was visible on the under bill. Small swan compared to the Mutes we are used to. Black legs.
Behaviors: Was feeding and swimming upstream in the Colorado river with a flock of Canada Geese, Mallards, and Common Goldeneyes. Was treading water to maintain position in current to feed. Fed by sticking head underwater (but did not stick the neck completely under) Then just swam around, not feeding for a while. Did not leave the river while we were there, so we were able to get a good long look at him.
Call: Did not call
Plumage: White

Similar Species Discussion

Similar species: Mute Swan and Trumpeter Swan

Eliminated Mute due to black beak and size (much smaller)
Eliminated Trumpeter due to the obvious sighting of the yellow lores.

Resources Used

Sibley's field guide to birds of Western North America
Copyright 2003

Previous Experience

have extensive experience with Mute swans in the east, but have not yet seen Trumpeter swan or Tundra swan before this.


Notes made AFTER observation

Additional Information

Comments: We are not beginning birders, but this is our first rare sighting to be recorded. We have been birding recreationally for about 40 years between us, and intensively for about two.
Time: 4:00
Elevation: aproxamatly 1739 Meters
Other Dates:
Nearest Town: Glenwood Springs
Independent Observers: Caroline Hecker

Materials Available

No files uploaded.

Date Documentation Submitted

1/1/2009 10:01:00 AM