Spring Is for the Geese

By Ann Minnett

What announces the coming of spring more vividly than bird migration?

Specific to NW Montana is the return of Canada Geese and a little farther to our west, Snow Geese. Some Canada Geese (aka Canadian) stay in our neighborhood to lays their eggs and raise their goslings until the whole family is able to fly north. I took this photo much later in the spring last year. (Eleven babies!)

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Last week we visited an area 30 miles from Great Falls to view the migration of Snow Geese—our first time. The area’s shallow lakes annually host many thousands of Snow Geese stopping to rest and feast on nearby barley fields. We met a Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks ranger who filmed the birds’ undulating lift-offs with a camera lens the length of my arm. This lucky man’s job is to travel around Montana and capture its amazing wildlife on video and in still photos. He said we were in the right place on the right day but the wrong year because the lakes had refrozen a few days earlier. Not as many geese stopped this year due to the ice. Still, the sights and especially the sounds were impressive. Oh, to have had the ranger’s lens! My photo below screams for more power. We’ll see about that when we try again next year. 

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