Where to See Wild Swans Migrating Through Utah


Photo courtesy of the Utah DWR

DWR News Release

If you want to see migrating wild swans this time of year, two spots in northern Utah are great places to see these magnificent birds as they wing their way through the state in March. To celebrate the swans’ return, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources will also be holding a special event on March 11.

Both tundra swans and trumpeter swans stop in Utah’s wetlands for some much-needed rest and refueling during their migration north in the spring. Their spring migration takes the swans from wintering grounds in California to nesting sites in Canada and Alaska.

“Swans are amazing birds to see in flight,” Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Northern Region Outreach Manager Mark Hadley said. “You’ll have no problem spotting them — they’re huge and almost pure white in color. I encourage you to take the opportunity to get out and see them during their migration this spring.”

 Swan viewing at the Salt Creek Waterfowl Management Area

The Compton’s Knoll viewing area, a small hill on the southeast side of the Salt Creek Waterfowl Management Area, is a perfect place to view swans and other birds. The hill places you above the marsh, providing fantastic viewing opportunities for those who have binoculars or spotting scopes. Two bird viewing blinds are also located at the bottom of the hill.

The Salt Creek WMA is about 12 miles northwest of Corinne. Except for Compton’s Knoll, the rest of the WMA is closed until September. Please remain behind closed gates and only view the swans from Compton’s Knoll or the two bird viewing blinds at the bottom of the hill.

Swan viewing at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the refuge, and its Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge Auto Tour Route, is another great place to see migrating swans this spring. It is located about 12 miles west of Brigham City.

To reach the auto tour route, exit I-15 at exit 363 and travel west on West Forest Street until you come to a large parking area with an observation tower. Stop at the tower to look for swans in the marsh to the north. You can then drive along the 12-mile auto tour route. The route will take you on a journey through the heart of the refuge. You could see thousands of swans in the wetlands along the driving route.

The refuge is also holding a Swan Day event on March 11. More information about the event is available on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website: https://www.fws.gov/event/swan-day-2023.

Swan event at the DWR’s Eccles Wildlife Education Center

You probably won’t see swans at this DWR event, but you can learn more about them, participate in fun activities and go on a nature walk at the DWR’s George S. and Dolores Dore’ Eccles Wildlife Education Center and Hasenyager Preserve. The event will be held on March 11 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 1157 South Waterfowl Way in Farmington.

The DWR’s Eccles Wildlife Education Center is part of the Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area. The WMA is closed to vehicle traffic from March 1 until September, but the education center is open Tuesday to Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

While the event is free, participants are asked to register for it in advance on the Eventbrite page.

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