The snow goose population at Middle Creek has declined precipitously this week, with the count yesterday just a fifth of what it had been this weekend.
This past weekend, the Game Commission estimated 105,000 birds at Middle Creek, but as of Wednesday that number was down to 20,000.
According to the Game Commission, numbers have declined drastically as the lake remains mostly covered in ice and fields nearby with snow. “Many of the geese departed west last (Tuesday) night, and some probably south,” said Middle Creek manager Lauren Ferreri in the most recent update.
As of Wednesday, the following counts were shared:
- Snow Geese: 20,000
- Tundra Swans: 1,500
- Canada Geese: 2,000
“We may see another bump in numbers as temperatures rise over the weekend,” advises Ferreri. “Only time will tell.”
Here’s what the spectacle looks like in full force, thanks to a photo by LebTown reader Michael Bachelda.
Last year, the high count for snow geese was recorded on February 21 with 200,000 snow geese. The high count for tundra swans was 5,500 (February 22) and 7,500 Canada geese (February 15). In 2017, the peak snow geese population recorded was 70,000+ on February 22.
The Game Commission says that icing is the most significant variable determining the arrival of migrating waterfowl. Snow cover and ice buildup limit access to the waste grain that the waterfowl depend on for food.
The Middle Creek interior tour road is now open as well, providing another opportunity for viewing the birds’ habitat.
Watch this video for more on Middle Creek and the Snow Goose Migration.