many swans in sky

In early spring, the Tundra Swans come by the thousands to feed and rest on the Thedford Bog.

Their annual northward migration starts from their wintering grounds on Chesapeake Bay on the eastern seaboard, in the State of Delaware and ends at their breeding grounds in the Canadian Arctic a journey of over 3000 km (1864 miles). Along the route they stop at ‘staging’ areas – wetlands and fields where they can feed and rest.

The eastern population of Tundra Swans is most frequently encountered either on their wintering grounds along the Atlantic coast from the Chesapeake Bay to North Carolina, or on the reservoirs and lakes of its staging areas of the North American interior.

The swans migrate north in spring to the Canadian Arctic and return south to Delaware in the fall. They will travel over 6,000 km per year on this round trip journey.

map of north america showing swan migration route

The swan migration spans 3 to 4 weeks, during the late winter-early spring, with swans remaining on staging areas as long as possible to take advantage of available food. The swans migrate quickly across Ontario, Michigan and Wisconsin and then spend considerable time in North Dakota, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, feeding in agricultural fields, before heading to their breeding areas in the Canadian Arctic.

The arrival and departure dates of the Tundra Swans resting on the Thedford Bog varies greatly. Here is a historical view of when the swans have visited our area.

 Lambton Heritage Museum Swan Migration History

Year Swans Arrived Most Swans Seen on the Bog Swans Departed Length of Stay


March 13

February 27

March 21

March 14

April 3

March 25

21 days

27 days

2017 February 21 February 23 March 8 16 days
2016 March 8 March 9 March 26 17 days
2015 March 17 April 1 April 10 25 days
2014 March 19 April 2 April 11 24 days
2013 March 9 March 15 April 8 31 days
2012 February 3 March 13 March 20 46 days
2011 March 13 March 18 April 8 27 days
2010 March 11 March 16 March 31 21 days
2009 March 11 March 17 April 2 23 days
2008 March 28 March 30 April 11 15 days
2007 March 12 March 14 April 2 22 days
2006 March 9 March 17 March 30 22 days


The Tundra Swan

True to its name, the Tundra Swan breeds on the high tundra of the Canadian Arctic.

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many swans flying

Return of the Swans

Visit the museum to enjoy family activities and learn more about the tundra swan.

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many swans flying

Thedford Bog

Now prime agricultural land, it was once a single massive wetland called Lake Smith.

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