Thousands of Swans Show Up in Flooded Field Along I-29 Near Argusville

Experts say it's part of the natural cycle for species

SOUTH OF ARGUSVILLE, N.D. — It’s something you don’t normally see along I–29: thousands of swans in a flooded field.

“You never see more than one or two swans ever in a group, and there’s several thousand there and it’s just an amazing once-in-a-lifetime type of deal,” Jim Bergquist, who sees the swans on his daily commute, said.

Experts say seeing swans may be a rare sight, but that’s because of the weather patterns over the years.

“What we see and think, ‘oh, that’s kind of strange,’ is actually the real cycle of nature that’s taking place that’s more visible right now,” Doug Leier, biologist with the ND Game and Fish Department, said.

Whether it’s a flood or drought, animals are able to adapt to what Mother Nature presents them with. Swans go wherever water is, and they’re actually preparing for nesting.

“That water warms up quicker and it begins the life process, the cycle of life,” Leier said.

During periods of drought, swans would show up more towards the central part of North Dakota as they migrate to Canada.

“We see the flood and we think these animals are in a level of distress. To a point they are, they’re displaced. They move someplace else, they try to get to drier ground, they move out of what people look at as natural habitat,” Leier said. “But when we look back over the course of history, floods are natural, so these wildlife species, they’ve been dealing with this over the course of time.”

As the waters recede, animals, whether that be swans, fish, geese, or deer, will go back to their natural habitats.

“For wildlife viewing, it’s kind of neat, because you have probably more accessible opportunities to see some of the different fish and wildlife species that are around,” Leier said.

“They seem to be like the majestic bird, it’s like seeing a bald eagle, their long neck and pure white body, black beak, seeing so many in one spot, it’s just amazing,” Bergquist said.

Categories: Local News, North Dakota News