Varying weather patterns perplexing snow geese


Late last week, while traveling to a nearby farm to gather some spilled corn cobs that were left during the fall harvest, mainly for the birds and squirrels that visit my homes bird feeders, I spotted a huge flock of circling snow geese that were close to landing on another nearby farm.

When I had enough corn, I drove to where the geese were headed, spotted them grouped together, and snapped a couple of photos.

To see these birds locally in January is extremely rare. During many past seasons while laying well covered with companions amongst a big spread of Canada goose decoys we often spotted  huge flocks of snow geese headed south. Most often this was before Thanksgiving, and I can recall one particular Thanksgiving morning when a flock of the white birds circled above our spread, almost reaching shotgun range before they decided to depart and continue their southward journey.

Any thoughts of snow geese when we saw them in November were pointed toward their return from winter grounds that usually occurs in late February into the first half of March. We knew when January came it was still Canada geese we hunted, and snow geese were always long past us by then, their return at least a month away.

Beyond any logical reason for this rarity is the pattern of the weather. Warm conditions this past year remained in Canada and upper New York state for a prolonged period. Snow cover just wasn’t a problem because virtually none existed. Both of these factors allowing for open water roosting and easy food access for this species of fowl.

Even at this moment there remains a good number of snow geese locally, spending their nights in the open water of a local quarry hole, and feeding on spent corn in nearby fields where snow cover is spotty.

Add the fact that big flocks of these spectacular birds flying high, are still passing at certain times heading to the mid-Atlantic coast where they spend the winter. This is something I personally never have seen in the past during January.

I spend a lot of time outdoors hunting, fishing and photographing wildlife and where they live. And the more time I spend outside the more I’ve witnessed the reactions of wild creatures and wild places to a warming planet.

I know many believe that not to be true, and many just seem to be so thoroughly knotted into their everyday lives to even consider this quandary facing the Earth.

But damn, with snow geese flying south in January, something is wrong.

Categories: Bloggers on Hunting, Pennsylvania – Ron Steffe, Waterfowl

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