Learned Something Interesting Today (Tundra Swans and Cranberry Bogs)

NJChileHead

Explorer
Dec 22, 2011
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573
I learned something interesting today, and figured my fellow nature lovers would be interested (although many of you probably know this already) :).

The past few winters I've been visiting cranberry bogs to check out the tundra swans, which are beautiful and well-loved by birders. I started wondering why tundra swans tend to visit cranberry bogs so heavily in winter, and not other types of lakes and ponds. Apparently they preferentially feed on red root, which explains their preference for the bogs, but they also make a pest out of themselves for the cranberry growers. Seems that while eating the red root they tear out a lot of vegetation and make a big mess of the bogs. I've seen string around cranberry bogs before and never knew what the string was for, apparently it's to keep the swans out. Never knew any of this! I linked an article for reference.

http://www.picranberry.com/preventing-swan-damage/
 

manumuskin

Piney
Jul 20, 2003
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millville nj
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UMMM??? Can't swans fly and land where they will? I"ve also wondered why canada Geese which can also fly persist in walking across roads and getting mowed down.Even a turkey will fly before getting hit though I did hit one in South Dakota once who was too slow in getting off.I am still missing a running light from that encounter.Not a car as far as the eye could see in either direction and yet he felt she felt the need to jump out of the grass in front of me.Just north of the entrance to badlands national park just about sunrise.
 
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PINEY WARDEN

Explorer
Jan 13, 2012
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Tundra Swans, Canada Geese, and Ducks will do severe damage to the cranberry bogs while they are flooded for protection during the winter.
 

RednekF350

Piney
Feb 20, 2004
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Pestletown, N.J.
Tundra Swans, Canada Geese, and Ducks will do severe damage to the cranberry bogs while they are flooded for protection during the winter.
I was at Millers off 206 looking for coyotes last week and the back bogs had a big flock of Canadas roosted along with a small flock of mallards. My truck spooked the Canadas in the dark but the mallards just swam further away from shore. They were still there 2 hours after daylight.
 
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stiltzkin

Scout
Feb 8, 2022
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Medford
Saw some of these at Whitesbog a few weeks ago, but I didn't know what they were for, either. I assumed they had something to do with the cranberry harvest.

A7401252.jpg


It's not a tight grid, either - they are pretty far apart. Must be something psychological that makes the fowl not want to land near them.
 

PINEY WARDEN

Explorer
Jan 13, 2012
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Saw some of these at Whitesbog a few weeks ago, but I didn't know what they were for, either. I assumed they had something to do with the cranberry harvest.

View attachment 16925

It's not a tight grid, either - they are pretty far apart. Must be something psychological that makes the fowl not want to land near them.
The PVC pipe is put in the Webster valve of the underground irrigation. The swans and geese cannot maneuver as far as take off and land to get between the strings without possibly striking them. Generally works very well keeping them out.
 

PINEY WARDEN

Explorer
Jan 13, 2012
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Do you use string?
No, we generally are very lucky on both properties and do not have Swan issues. Once in a blue moon they appear in our bogs and we chase them out. But in years past we have put strings up in younger bogs but have not in done it recently.
 

PINEY WARDEN

Explorer
Jan 13, 2012
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166
I was at Millers off 206 looking for coyotes last week and the back bogs had a big flock of Canadas roosted along with a small flock of mallards. My truck spooked the Canadas in the dark but the mallards just swam further away from shore. They were still there 2 hours after daylight.
Thats what happens they will land right at dark and spend the night and feed in darkness. They can destroy bogs in just days depending on how many.
 

NJChileHead

Explorer
Dec 22, 2011
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573
@PINEY WARDEN this is interesting information about the other waterfowl. Sad to hear that they are such a nuisance for you all.

Seems like the tundra swans almost explicitly go after the red root, with the cranberries as collateral damage. What are the geese and other waterfowl going after?
 
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