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Snow Geese Resting & Feeding on Staging Areas As They Migrate North

3-28-`7 snow geese090Most 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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7 responses

  1. In arch of the great snow winter of 1968-69, I was driving between the high snowbanks along the Androscoggin River in Thirteen-Mile Woods. I stopped to take a pee, and heard a tremendous racket on the other side of the snowbank on the river side of the road. Climbed up to take a look. Uncounted thousands of snow geese gabbling at each other and enjoying the open water.

    March 28, 2017 at 8:52 am

  2. Mary Jo Carlsen

    Heading south on 95, near Sydney, Maine last Saturday morning. I caught a glimpse of what appeared to be seagulls flying, in formation. In formation?? Nope. Snow geese migrating.

    March 28, 2017 at 11:24 am

  3. A sight I hope to see some day!

    March 28, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    • I hope you do, too, Eliza. They are so beautiful, both on the ground and when flying.

      March 28, 2017 at 4:49 pm

  4. Ruth Sylvester

    Do the geese somehow get nutrition out of the dead vegetation that’s around right after snow melts? Is there food value in this often moldy stuff?

    March 28, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    • The ones I observed were consuming green grass…whatever they are eating, it must give them the energy to migrate a very long distance!

      March 28, 2017 at 4:48 pm

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