Many people know that the Mississippi River is a flyway for thousands of birds, but did you know that the NE corner of Iowa also host the Tundra Swan fall migration?
The Tundra Swan migrate diagonal across North America from the Artic West Coast to Chesapeake Bay, Maryland. The Mississippi has many varieties of vegetation that the Tundra Swan love to eat such as the Arrowhead and Wild Celery.
Many Tundra Swans and other birds will stop in pool 9 just south of Lansing, Iowa. There is a river cruise company, Mississippi Explorer River Cruises, that give 3 hour migration tours out of Lansing during the 2nd and 3rd weekend in November.
The Cruise will take you past Capoli Slough where the US Corp of Engineers have been working on an island habitat restoration project. They are restoring islands that have eroded away as well as building habitat for fish in the water.
The boat will then move down river to a waterfowl refuge where hunting is off limits. This is where most of the birds will be spotted. The Eagles enjoy this spot as well even though they are not migrating south.
While on the river you will see a variety of birds, which most likely will include Bald Eaglse, Pelicans, Cormorants, Great Blue Heron, Tundra Swans, geese and a variety of ducks. Many times you can spot a Mink running on the rocks looking for a lame bird for dinner.
The 3 hour cruise is a wonderful way to see the beauty of the river, learn about the Capoli Slough Project, observe and learn about the birds that use the Mississippi River for migration.