The Middle Creek Wildlife Management area provides a secure resting and water-roosting area for a variety of migratory birds and waterfowl, including Tundra Swans. The Tundra Swans migrate through this area in the spring and fall of each year. The birds do not generally feed on the Middle Wildlife Management Area’s acreage. Instead, they are attracted to surrounding, privately-owned farmland that yields winter wheat. Fortunately, winter wheat is a hardy crop and the farmland can recover from the grazing.
The Middle Creek Initiative is comprised of the Lebanon Valley Conservancy, PA Game Commission Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area, Lebanon County Conservation District, Lebanon County Planning Department, and PA Audubon. This group of dedicated organizations works toward public education regarding the importance of this area: The farmland/feeding grounds for migratory birds and waterfowl and the unique global importance of the Lebanon Valley in maintaining the Atlantic flyway feeding grounds and open areas for these migrating species and in particular, the Tundra Swan.
Lebanon County is under intense pressure from development. Some of the fields that used to hold winter wheat, now hold housing subdivisions. The concern is that if more agricultural lands are lost, huge numbers (the highest recorded 14,700) of swans will no longer use Middle Creek as a stopover. Given the importance of the general Middle Creek area to the tundra swan population, an effort is now being made to preserve the farmland and open space of the tundra swans’ range.
For scientifically captured data regarding migrations, please visit the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Some other resources that provide scientific data related to bird migrations are pa.audubon.org and ebird.org.