Most of the U.S.’s eastern population of Snow Geese has been wintering along Atlantic Coast from Massachusetts to South Carolina, and will breed in the subarctic and arctic tundra near the coast. These Snow Geese depart North Carolina and Virginia for Delaware Bay mid- to late February. After resting and refueling at Delaware Bay, they depart and migrate through western Connecticut, the Hudson River, and Lake Champlain throughout March and early April, stopping to rest and refuel along the way at various locations (referred to as staging areas). Most Snow Geese arrive at their Arctic breeding grounds by mid- to late May.
During spring migration, flocks of family groups and individuals migrate both day and night. These flocks consist of anywhere from 35 to 400 birds. Many factors influence the timing and duration of spring migration from year to year, including inconsistencies of weather and the availability of food at stopover sites and on breeding grounds. Snow Geese tend to migrate with southerly or southwesterly winds, high temperature, falling pressure, low humidity, good visibility, and no precipitation. Their northerly progress is closely related to the disappearance of ice and snow – they can feed only after both have melted and perennial vegetation is exposed.
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