A Celebration of Swans

Swans in flight.

2021 A Celebration of Swans

Yukon's premier birding festival brings residents and visitors alike out to great swan viewing areas to welcome spring to the North. The mass migration of tens of thousands of swans, ducks, and geese is not to be missed.

The Swan Haven Interpretive Centre, open daily in April, is the hub of the festival.

Events include art workshops, presentations, guided hikes and more!

Festival poster

Every year a collectible poster is produced featuring an art piece that celebrates spring. Thousands of these posters are distributed to communities across Yukon.

The contest for the 2021 festival poster is now closed. 

Student art contest

A wildlife-themed art contest for students in Grades 2 to 6. Art is displayed at the Swan Haven Interpretive Centre during April.

The 2021 contest is open. The submission deadline is March 19, 2021. Late submissions will be accepted.

To enter

Submit art to:

Government of Yukon
Wildlife Viewing Program
Box 2703 (V-5R)
Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 2C6

Each piece must include the following information on the back:

  • student’s full name;
  • school name;
  • grade; and
  • teacher’s name.
  • Any medium accepted.

The top ten entries are chosen by visitors to Swan Haven in April. Winners receive great prizes.

Events

Workshop in front of the Swan Haven Interpretive Centre.
All programming will be held outside this year while following the Chief Medical Officer of Health guidelines regarding COVID-19. Some events will be by registration only. Registration will begin on March 26. 

Every Saturday and Sunday: Guided walks, 12 p.m., 2 p.m., 4 p.m.

Location: Swan Haven

Join Swan Haven interpreters for a walk on the ice and explore the sights and sounds of spring. 

April 5: Spiritual Celebration of Swans, 11 a.m.

Location: Swan Haven

All are welcome at this special time to give thanks for the return of spring. Join in song and prayer during this multi-faith service while enjoying time for quiet reflection with the swans. 

April 7: Beading workshop, 5 to 8 p.m.

Location: Swan Haven

Join Montana and Delaney Prysnuk from Copper Caribou in beading a swan key chain. Registration required.

April 10: Bird ID walk, 10 to 11:30 a.m. 

Location: Swan Haven

Join interpreter Jukka Jantunen on a walk along the shoreline as he helps identify our feathered friends that make their home in Yukon. Registration required. 

April 13: Nest box building workshop, 6 to 9 p.m.

Location: Yukonstruct

Learn about Yukon's cavity-nesting bird population, tips about avoiding squirrels, and how to pick a good spot to mount your bird box. The skilled folks at Yukonstruct will guide you through the assembly of your very own nesting box for small birds such as chickadees and nuthatches. Registration required.

April 17 to 18: Family weekend, 12 to 3 p.m.       

Location: Swan Haven

The whole family is welcome to an afternoon of swan watching and fun activities. Vote for your favourite artwork, do a scavenger hunt, play games and immerse yourself in the cacophony of swan sounds. 

April 19: Bat house building workshop, 6 to 9 p.m.

Location: Yukonstruct.

Learn about the biology and conservation of these small, flying mosquito-eaters, how bat houses are helpful, and where to place your bat house. Yukonstruct woodworking enthusiasts will help you to properly assemble your bat house. Registration required.

April 24: Bird banding 101, 3:30 to 5 p.m.        

Loation: Swan Haven

Come learn about Yukon's three bird banding stations from the experts themselves. Weather-permitting, members of the Society of Yukon Bird Observatories will demonstrate banding techniques. 

April 28: Brownie Mountain hike, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Location: Marsh Lake

This short but steep hike is also know as M'Clintock West Ridge. WE'll get an elevated view on Swan Haven and M'Clintock Bay in teh lovely, evening light. Requires walking 2 km over very steep, uneven terrain. Review trail description at yukonhiking.ca. Registration required.

May 1: Shorebird walk, 10 to 11:30 a.m.  

Location: Swan Haven

Move over swans, it's shorebird time! The shores of Swan Haven boast much more than swans and ducks. Sandpipers and snipes, yellowlegs and godwits, interpreter Jukka Jantunen will sort it all out during a walk and talk. Rubber boots are recommended. Registration required.

May 2: Watercolour landscape workshop, 1 to 3 p.m.

Location: Swan Haven

Local artist Daphne Mennell will be on hand to share techniques with aspiring artists. Materials will be provided. No experience is required. Please arrive at the start time to receive neccessary instructions. Registration required. 

Swant counts

Once Swan Haven Interpretive Centre opens, daily counts of the number of swans sited will be updated here.

Swans at Swan Haven.
Contact: 

For questions about A Celebration of Swans and wildlife viewing events, email wildlife.viewing@yukon.ca or phone: 867-667-8291 or toll free in Yukon: 1-800-661-0408, ext. 8291.