Friday, February 18, 2011

See as many as 20,000 snow geese

Photo by Lynn Chamberlain, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Delta -- It’s a sight you have to see to believe: thousands of pure white snow and Ross’ geese lifting off Gunnison Bend Reservoir amid honks and the beating of wings.

You can see this spectacle yourself on Feb. 25, 26 and 27 at the annual Utah Snow Goose Festival. The festival will be held at and near Gunnison Bend Reservoir, just west of Delta. Admission is free.

As many as 20,000 snow geese have been at the reservoir during past festivals. Except for the black tips on their wings, snow geese are pure white. “We’ll provide spotting scopes so you can get a close look at the geese,” says Bob Walters, Watchable Wildlife coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. “We’ll also be available to answer any questions you have.”

In addition to seeing the geese, you can learn more about wildlife at free seminars offered by the DWR. The seminars will be held on Friday, Feb. 25.


The best times to see the geese
The areas where you’ll see the geese vary according to the time of the day. Walters says if you arrive early in the morning, you can watch the geese feeding in fields that surround the reservoir. Then, at about 10:30 a.m., the geese take off and fly back to the reservoir. “That’s an exciting time to see and hear the geese,” he says.

After landing on the reservoir, the geese usually spend the next few hours there. “Then, anywhere from 4 to 6 p.m., they take off again and fly back to the fields,” Walters says. “It’s thrilling to be there when the geese do this.”

DWR biologists will watch which fields the geese fly to. If you arrive after the geese have left the reservoir, the biologists will direct you to the fields where the geese are feeding.


Viewing tips
Use binoculars or a spotting scope to view the geese. If you get too close to the geese, you could scare them away.

If you pull off the road to view the geese, pull as far off the road as you can. And watch for cars.

The weather could be cold and wet. Bring the proper clothes so you can stay warm and dry.

For more information about the 2011 Snow Goose Festival, call the Delta Area Chamber of Commerce at (435) 864-4316.

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