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Snow Geese Descend on Delta, Utah

Snow Geese Descend on Delta, Utah



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Ashley Hayes Reporting A wildlife event is going on this weekend where you are guaranteed to see wild geese. They are hard to miss this time of year.

Delta is hosting the annual Snow Goose Festival, where thousands of the white and black birds flock every February.

The snow geese have descended on Delta. They are in town for their annual migration, and according to the 2000 Census geese outnumber human residents in Delta eight to one.

Snow Geese Descend on Delta, Utah

But there's nothing to fear. This is an annual spectacle in Delta, where like a swarm of bees, thousands of white snow geese hover in the air. For the next several weeks the flocks will gather each morning in farmers' fields for breakfast before heading to the lake.

Lynn Chamberlain, Division of Wildlife Resources: "The geese are coming in from the south. They'll stay here for a little while and move on, and another group will come in. They just keep building and keep coming in and going out and congregating here."

The geese are coming from Baja California where they winter. Delta is the first and most inland stop the birds make on their way to Alaska and the Arctic Circle, where they nest.

Over a six-week period, between 40,000 and 50,000 snow geese will migrate through Delta. At any one time you can see about 25,000 out on Gunnison Bend Reservoir.

While the birds' presence used to be considered a nuisance, now they are welcomed, or at least accommodated.

Lynn Chamberlain, Division of Wildlife Resources: "Interestingly enough the farmers will plant extra seed, just planning on feeding the snow geese when they come through."

Though the geese eat crops, they are a big enough attraction to more than make up for what they consume. Each year the Snow Goose Festival draws 2,000 to 3,000 people to Delta, creating a lot of revenue for the town.

It's a scene like no other. For Chamberlain, even after a dozen or so years....

Lynn Chamberlain, Division of Wildlife Resources: "It still raises the hackles on the back of my neck and gets my blood pumping to see all of those birds in the air at once, circling around the pond, making the chatter you hear now. It's a marvelous event I never get tired of."

So Chamberlain's still going back for more. He will be at the festival this weekend. The event is free. There will also be a quilt show, a "wild goose chase," 5K and 10K run/walk.

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