Monday, November 16, 2020

Snow Geese Migration...

 


Since I posted Marymine's video, there have been a few questions about the snow geese.   This article might be of interest:

"More than a million snow geese return to California’s wetlands every winter.

It’s a migration dating back millennia. Their arrival sends bird enthusiasts and conservationists flocking to the Sacramento Valley to catch the noisy spectacle.

 

1. Where did the snow geese come from?

For thousands of years, snow geese have migrated from the Arctic along the Pacific flyway to winter on the Sacramento River floodplain.

Now that humans control the river’s flow through dams and other management, natural flooding no longer occurs. “That’s why preserving wetland wildlife refuges (where the geese now congregate) is so important.”

While some migrate from as far as Russia, most of California’s snow geese are likely flying from Alaska and western Canada, Humboldt State University wildlife management professor and goose expert Jeff Black said. While at their summer breeding grounds, snow geese lose their flight feathers, grounding them. They grow back at the end of summer, and the geese take flight for the western United States and Mexico.

2. Where is home now that they’re here?

Besides refuges, snow geese and other wetland wildlife hangout in rice fields, which serve as “surrogate wetlands.”

Rice farmers, who flood their fields after the fall harvest, welcome them, said Jim Morris, spokesman for the California Rice Commission in Sacramento. Snow geese arrive “just in time” to fertilize fields with their droppings, enriching soil before spring planting.

The fields supply more than 60% of the fall/winter food consumed by wetland migratory birds, Morris said. Part of that feast is the stubble left from harvested rice plants. What they don’t eat, their big flappy feet may smack down, pushing it under water and into the soil. “You need the stubble to decompose before you can plant again, (so birds provide) a real service.”

About 230 wetland species graze in the Sacramento Valley, home to 97% of California’s 500,000-acre rice grow, Morris said.

California is the second largest rice-producing state after Arkansas, growing more than four billion pounds of rice. More than 90% is sushi rice.

3. How do I know if what I’m seeing is a snow goose?

Snow geese are hard to miss. They’re a big bird with a 4.5-foot wingspan, according to the Audubon Society, and usually gather in large numbers.

They sport white bodies with black wingtips, a look scientists think makes them blend in with the snow, Black said.

Look for couples.

“They migrate in devoted lifelong pairs,” Black said. "


22 comments:

  1. We sometimes get them here in Louisiana also. 🙂

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  2. Saw them passing by when we lived in Seattle.

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    1. There is a resident population of honkers near the hovel, and they help keep the homesickness at bay...

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  3. We have a migrant population of Canada Geese here. They show up around the end of October, and hang out until April/May.

    They're beautiful to see flying, but they're noisy, aggressive, large birds that poop everywhere.

    I delight in chasing them around the neighborhood with my little radio controlled truck. I'm working on a mount for my GoPro camera to record my adventures later....

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    1. Cody's picture at the top was taken with his drone. Gets a bit dicey when there are so many flying.
      LOL, please share gopro pics of your misadventures...

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  4. Thanks Brig. It's inspiring to see them flying in formation.

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  5. I love watching geese, of any sort, and pelicans, as they fly

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    1. There is a small pelican island near where we fish on the Columbia. It's always interesting to watch and learn about them.

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  6. Thank you for posting this. I was indeed interested.

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    1. After all these years of living in the Pacific Flyway there is always something new to learn...

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  7. Big suckers... And yes, a murmuration of them is IMPRESSIVE!

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    1. They are. I knew a large flock of Starlings are called a murmuration. But geese... are a "blump"... who knew...lol

      A group of geese is called a “gaggle” when they are on the ground, or floating in water. They are called either a “skein,” a “team,” or a “wedge” when in flight. When they are flying closely clumped together, they are called a “plump.”

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  8. Again, you are a bundle of knowledge. Thank you for the Snow Geese lesson. I almost had a couple of them land on me at Jackson Meadows while having a break while snowmobiling.

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    1. Wow, that must have been interesting. Hope all is well in your camp.

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  9. Were my life not completely different, I dare to say that I would have liked to referred to as 'snow goose expert'. Perhaps the little one living in Olympia can obtain that title.

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    1. You can be referred to the 'snow goose expert', it doesn't matter where you are...
      Perhaps she will.

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  10. Here we have them in large lots. One wouldn't think they fly at night but they do and one can have 2 or 3 squadrons fly over giving the leader a honk. They fly here in Ohio in little vees but we some great vees in the midwest.

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    1. Actually I think they spend more time at night covering large distances than in the day time. Star guided navigation abides...

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