Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Migrating Snow Geese

Despite the snow covering the mountains, more signs of spring are appearing, including the annual migration of snow geese (Chen caerulescens). I recently saw some at the Snow Goose Festival held in Delta, Utah, but they were a little camera shy so I didn't get any closeups.

This medium-sized goose breeds in the arctic, so it's on the leading edge of migrating birds. It doesn't mind a little snow and cold weather on its journey. They travel in families from southern North America to the arctic and back each year, and the geese mate for life. Snow geese need to eat as they travel, so they spend a lot of time in fields, nibbling on vegetation.

Most of the snow geese are all white with black wings, but there is a dark morph where they appear with white heads and dark bodies (sometimes called a blue goose). At the beginning of the 20th century, snow geese were in decline, but now they are surviving in high numbers, so high that their breeding grounds are becoming overcrowded. 

One of the best things about the snow geese is listening to them. They make a nasal honking sound, and when tens or hundreds fly overhead, they can be really loud. 

1 comment:

The Incredible Woody said...

I love listening/watching geese in flight!

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