Snow Geese

Again this year, I drove over to the Delaware Bay and Eastern Shore of Maryland to watch the annual migration of snow geese. In a good year, which this year was, the sight is awesome, overwhelming, amazing, or whatever adjective you may come up with. I have stood beside a lake at dawn and seen tens of thousands of snow geese rise up as one body. Every individual goose seems to be honking at once, as if in ecstasy. The morning sun reflects brilliantly as they whirl and swirl.

Snow geese mate for life, and also they keep their young beside them in family groups for at least a year. How they maintain contact with each other is a wonder to me. It will be to you when you watch the video. Another wonder is how the geese avoid mid-air collisions.

My term for what you see in the video is an "uprising." The uprisings often follow a pattern that seems almost scripted. At first light, a few early-rising geese begin to stir on the lakes where they have spent the night. Small groups begin to take off, circle, and land again. They become more vocal as they do this, and others begin to join. The late-sleepers probably hate this and try to ignore it, but this becomes harder and harder. The preliminary uprisings become more frequent and involving more and more geese. Finally there comes a moment, often as the first rays of sun are beaming in, when the entire group rises up as if on a signal, emptying the lake with a thunderous exclamation. Sometimes many of them may land on the water again, and other times they all fly off to feed in open fields, returning in the evening.

Snow geese migrate to the arctic regions of North America, Siberia, and Greenland to raise their young in the short summers.  When the young are able to fly, they head south. They winter in warmer parts of the southern U.S. and Mexico. The best time to see the migrations in our Maryland/Delaware region is mid-November through mid-December.

See and hear a sample in the video that follows:


1 thought on “Snow Geese”

  1. Hi Ed – wandering around your site & came across this story … seeing this in person is still one of the most amazing and awe-inspiring moments in my life – I can still remember it as if it was yesterday.     Thank you

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top