Migratory Swans Find Wintering Ground Frozen in Aomori Pref.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Swans gather on the icy surface of the Magitsutsumi reservoir on Friday in Oirase, Aomori Prefecture.

MISAWA, Aomori — A severe cold spell has mostly frozen a well-known wintering ground for migrating swans in Oirase, Aomori Prefecture.

The Magitsutsumi agricultural reservoir sometimes used to turn to ice in the 1990s, but it had not frozen over in the past 10 years or more, according to Yukimasa Ebina, 86, who has been engaged in swan monitoring and preservation activities in the town for 26 years.

The reservoir’s surface is covered with ice this year, except for the west bank where a stream flows in.

As of Friday, 324 swans had flown to the site. During the daytime, the birds walk up to visitors who feed them. At night, they sleep huddled together on the remaining narrow patch of water on the west bank to protect themselves from foxes and other wild animals.

“It was minus 11 C in the early morning on Friday,” Ebina said. “I’m worried that the swans might go elsewhere because of the frost.”