Swans start heading back north after spending winter in Japan

Swans that spent the winter in Fukushima Prefecture, northern Japan, have started flying back to the Arctic region with the coming of the spring.

More than 3,000 swans spent the winter at Lake Inawashiro, which is one of the major destinations for migratory swans in the prefecture.

On Thursday morning, as the sun rose, they formed flocks of about 10 and began their flight back home, where they will breed.

A member of a local conservation group which has been observing the swans over the years said the migration started around one week earlier than usual this year. He said he hopes the swans will return with their children in good health next winter.

The swans' departure is expected to continue until the end of March, when the locals begin full-fledged farming activities.