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Canada’s premier bird festival will swoop into Canada’s Yukon Territory in April, as thousands of Trumpeter and Tundra Swans complete their migration north to their natural habitat, ready to rest, feed and breed.

The Celebration of Swans is a spectacular display of nature at its finest, highly anticipated by locals and visitors alike, who will flock to various viewing areas in southern Yukon to observe this stunning phenomenon and enjoy the festivities.

“Each year, bird-lovers eagerly await the start of spring in the Yukon, marked by the arrival of these magnificent, giant birds,” says Yas Yamamoto, Market Development Manager, Asia Pacific, Tourism Yukon. “More than 10,000 swans can be seen flying over Whitehorse and nearby regions during the month of April. It’s a remarkable phenomenon and a sight to behold.”

The Celebration of Swans festival began in 1994. The first flocks signify the end of winter, as the Trumpeter swans return to western and central Yukon to raise their young after spending the winter in the Canadian Pacific Coast region.

Forty kilometres south of Yukon’s capital city of Whitehorse, the Swan Haven Interpretive Centre in Marsh Lake is a festival hub. The centre hosts interpretive events, viewing platforms, games and crafts that educate visitors on the swan habitat and migration patterns as well as offering great photo opportunities.

The Yukon is a bird-lover’s paradise, home to more than 200 species of birds throughout the territory, including the Bald Eagle, Great Gray Owl, Yellow Rumped Warbler, Bufflehead, Northern Hawk Owl, Great Horned Owl, Boreal Owl, and Horned Lark.

In addition to swan haven, key places to observe swans and other birds in the Yukon include the Albert Creek Bird Observatory near Watson Lake, Teslin Lake Bird Observatory, and McIntyre Marsh Bird Observatory.

Want more feathered festivities?

 The Yukon is a birder’s paradise, but you don’t need to be an ornithologist to appreciate them. Additional bird festivals take place later in the year in other areas of the Yukon that can be incorporated into your Yukon holiday including:

Faro’s Crane and Sheep Viewing festival will be held from 3 – 5 May 2024, celebrating the migration of 250,000 Sandhill cranes from Mexico to Alaska, as well as the Fannin’s Sheep lambing season that allow visitors close-up views of these mountain mammals.

Weekend on the Wing festival takes place in June, in Tombstone Territorial Park just north of historic Dawson City. Bird lovers congregate for free walks and talks as they catch the return of migrating birds to this sub-arctic tundra environment just south of the Arctic Circle. The Dempster Highway, which traverses the Arctic Circle, is a great route for sighting predator birds like the golden eagle and peregrine falcon.

In the Yukon’s southwestern corner, Kluane National Park is home to more than 180 different types of birds, with lakes, rivers and hiking trails throughout the wilderness park. Kluane is part of a UNESCO site and is the largest internationally protected wilderness area in the world.


Air Canada and Qantas offer direct flights to Vancouver from Sydney and Brisbane. Internal flights to Whitehorse and Dawson City are available on Air North and Air Canada.