2018 Swan Days Festival

Thousands of Tundra Swans, Snow Geese, Canada Geese, and twenty-two species of ducks migrate to Lake Mattamuskeet each year between November and February to spend the winter on North Carolina's largest natural lake. The Swan Days Festival, held on the second Saturday in December, celebrates the winter migration, and especially the return of the majestic Tundra Swans. This year, the festival is on December 8, 2018, from 10:00AM to 4:00PM and will take place at Mattamuskeet School and on Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge.

Birding Tram Tours

The date for reserving your seat on the December 8, 2018 guided migratory bird trams at Lake Mattamuskeet has not yet been set. Please do not call early hoping to reserve a seat. There are no early reservations! We will announce the reservation date later in the year. Reservations will be handled differently this year. Mattamuskeet Refuge will not be reserving seats on the trams. The details will be made clear when we announce the date for accepting reservations. PLEASE BE PATIENT AND CONTINUE TO WATCH HIS WEBSITE AND OUR SWAN DAYS FACEBOOK PAGE.

Decoy Carving Workshop

Chase Luker carves North Carolina style decoys the old fashioned way––with a sharp hatchet. Come to the 2018 Swan Days Festival and Chase will teach you how to carve your favorite decoy. The workshop will take place on December 8 at Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge. The workshop is limited to twelve people. Chase will provide all supplies. For more information or to register for the workshop, email Chase at <chase.luker@ncwildlife.org>.


Kids' Programs

Consider taking your kids to the 2018 Swan Days Festival at Mattamuskeet School and Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge on December 8. Mattamuskeet is North Carolina’s largest natural lake and thousands of Tundra Swans, Snow Geese, Canada Geese, and ducks spend the winter at the lake each year. There will be bird tours, educational programs, and a variety of vendors. For more information, follow our Swan Days facebook page, or call the 2018 festival headquarters at (252) 926-1639.

Nature Photography Workshop

MATTHEW MOLT will lead a free wildlife and nature photography workshop as part of the 2018 Swan Days Festival at Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday, December 8. Participants should arrive with their camera at the Charles Kuralt Trail observation platform on Hwy 94 at Lake Mattamuskeet at 6:30 AM.. Bring your camera. For more information, call Matthew at (252) 402-1778, or visit his facebook page @Matthew Molt Photography.

North Carolina Estuarium

The 2018 Swan Days Festival will take place at Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge and Mattamuskeet School on December 8. The North Carolina Estuarium will have an exhibit of flora and fauna from their estuarine museum collection. Russ Chesson of the Estuarium staff stated, “Our station will feature hands-on educational activities designed to teach, entertain, and challenge the expert in every crowd.” For more information, call the 2018 festival headquarters at 252-926-1639.

Meet the Hunting Guides

On December 8, 2018, as part of the annual Swan Days Festival at Lake Mattamuskeet, a panel of former hunting guides from days gone by on Lake Mattamuskeet will share their experiences from the years when Mattamuskeet was the "Canada Goose Hunting Capitol of the World." Among the guides will be A.B. Swindell, a native of Hyde County and former guide who later served five terms in the North Carolina State Senate. For more information about the festival and guide’s program, call the 2018 festival headquarters at (252) 926-1639.

Sylvan Heights

Sylvan Heights Bird Park, in a joint venture with the 2018 Swan Days Festival at Lake Mattamuskeet, will provide a hands-on, engaging opportunity to better understand waterfowl conservation on December 8. Join them for educational activities, digging deeper into the world of waterfowl, with a focus on the importance of these species in the wetland ecosystem. A wood duck, bar-headed goose, and the black swan are some of the waterfowl included in the day’s activities. These Sylvan Heights waterfowl, along with Eastern North Carolina’s large flocks of wintering waterfowl, provide a perfect backdrop to the return of Mattamuskeet’s tundra swan.  For more information, call the 2018 festival headquarters at 252-926-1639.

History of Lake Mattamuskeet

Dr. Lewis Forrest, executive director of the nonprofit Mattamuskeet Foundation, will given a presentation at the Swan Days Festival on December 8, 2018 on the history of Lake Mattamuskeet. The program with slides will begins with the earliest recorded history of the lake and continues to the present. Lake Mattamuskeet is the largest natural lake in North Carolina. The bulk of the presentation concerns the period from 1909 to 1932, when the Mattamuskeet Drainage District built the world's largest capacity pumping plant and removed the water from the lake three times. During those years, the Mattamuskeet Drainage District was describe as America's most famous pump-supported land reclamation project. For more information, call Dr. Forrest at (252) 341-7882.

Indians around Lake Mattamuskeet

SCOTT DAWSON, president of the Croatoan Archaeological Society and MARCO GIBBS, Hyde County historian, will speak at the Swan Days Festival on the Native American history around Lake Mattamuskeet, and display some of their collections of Indian artifacts. This promises to be an outstanding educational program for all ages.
Photo copyright© by the British Museum.

Magic of Lake Mattamuskeet

JOHN STANTON, Supervisory Wildlife Biologist, USFWS Migratory Bird Field Office in Columbia, will present a program at the festival on the diversity of bird life each year on Mattamuskeet NWR. Bird life changes with the seasons and the stories behind these changes are as fascinating as the remarkable glimpses we have of these birds while they are here at Mattamuskeet NWR.