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See tundra swans migrating through Utah at free events

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(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) Flock of Tundra Swans fly over Salt Creek Waterfowl Managment Area south of Tremonton on Wednesday November 16. The swans are in the middle of their migration with an estimated 40,000 birds stopping over. The swans can also be seen in large numbers a few miles south at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge.

Federal and state wildlife agencies are celebrating the annual spring migration of up to 35,000 tundra swans with two chances for the public watch them with experts in March.

The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and Friends of Bear River Refuge are holding Swan Day on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service refuge west of Brigham City.

All events are free and include special “behind the gates” tours led by wildlife biologists, presentations and movies in the visitor center, and crafts. Registration for both the tours is required. Call 435-734-6457 to make a reservation.

The Bear River Migratory Refuge is one block west of Interstate 15 via Exit 363.

The state will hold its annual viewing event on Saturday, March 15, at the Salt Creek Waterfowl Management Area west of Corrine from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. This public event is also free.

Biologists from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources will be at Salt Creek with spotting scopes and binoculars to help visitors get a better look at the large swans — which have a wingspan of about 66 inches and weigh more than 20 pounds.

“Just seeing and hearing these birds is worth the trip,” said DWR conservation outreach manager Phil Douglass in a release. “Knowledgeable and friendly people from the DWR and Wasatch Audubon will also be available to answer any questions you have.”

Salt Creek Waterfowl Management Area can also be accessed by driving west from Interstate 15 at Exit 365. The management area can be reached by driving on State Road 83 through Corinne to 6800 West. Head north on 6800 West to 6800 North to Salt Creek.

The swans are visible throughout March and the areas are open to the public during daylight hours. The viewing events will provide spotting scopes, binoculars and information to watchers.

brettp@sltrib.com

Twitter: @BrettPrettyman

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