Tag Archives: Central Flyway

Bird blizzard

More than a million snow geese take flight over the skies of Missouri – creating the illusion of a blizzard – in these awe-inspiring pictures. The spectacle was captured in Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge as the birds began their annual summer migration back to the Arctic tundra found in Greenland, Canada, and Alaska. Groups of birds numbering between 100 and 1,000 make the journey together alongside others, their swooping mass blotting out large swathes of sky.

Epic: The snow geese take flight at Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge in Missouri. More than a million birds take refuge there as they migrate northEpic: The snow geese take flight at Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge in Missouri. More than a million birds take refuge there as they migrate north
Migrant: The birds breed in Greenland, Canada, Alaska and Siberia but summer in warmer climes throughout North AmericaMigrant: The birds breed in Greenland, Canada, Alaska and Siberia but summer in warmer climes throughout North America
Glorious: Groups of birds numbering between 100 and 1,000 can make the journey togetherGlorious: Groups of birds numbering between 100 and 1,000 can make the journey together

Photographer Doug French, from Nebraska, captured the jaw-dropping scenes earlier this year. He said: ‘This flock of more than one million geese were seen leaving the refuge early in the morning at sun rise. ‘At times more than 100,000 geese would erupt from the lake in a solid white and black wall of geese and the sound of their wing beats would drown out everything else. ‘You could not see through these giant walls of geese.’

Veil: The snow geese take to the sky in their hundreds of thousands, forming a barrier that cannot be seen throughVeil: The snow geese take to the sky in their hundreds of thousands, forming a barrier that cannot be seen through
Photographer Doug French, from Nebraska, captured the scenes arlier this yearPhotographer Doug French, from Nebraska, captured the scenes earlier this year
Tourists: Some vagrant geese make it as far afield as ScotlandTourists: Some vagrant geese make it as far afield as Scotland

Air traffic control: The area is known as the Central Flyway due to the high volume of birds. Right, a close-up of a snow goose in mid-flight

Flying symphony: In the background thousands of birds can be seen blanketing the surface of the lakeFlying symphony: In the background thousands of birds can be seen blanketing the surface of the lake
The area is popular with the lesser snow geese because they can feed on the abundant corn and sorghum

The area is popular with the lesser snow geese because they can feed on the abundant corn and sorghum. The photographer described the scenes as ‘magnificent’

The area is popular with the lesser snow geese because its rich agricultural land provides an abundance of corn and sorghum. After feeding in the area – known as the Central Flyway due to the high volume of birds – the geese eventually head north in April and May to their Arctic breeding grounds. Mr French added: ‘The spectacle of seeing this number of snow geese in one area was truly magnificent to see and hear.’

The birds mate for life The birds mate for life, usually in their second year, although breeding does not usually start until the third year.
Snow goose females are strongly drawn to the place they hatched when they want to breedSnow goose females are strongly drawn to the place they hatched when they want to breed
Lake placid: The birds clump together on the surface of the lakeLake placid: The birds clump together on the surface of the lake
As well as being an incredible sight to behold, the sound the massed birds make is also said to be spine-tinglingAs well as being an incredible sight to behold, the sound the massed birds make is also said to be spine-tingling
Photographer Doug French said: 'The spectacle of seeing this number of snow geese in one area was truly magnificent to see and hear'Photographer Doug French said: ‘The spectacle of seeing this number of snow geese in one area was truly magnificent to see and hear’
Escape to the sun: Snow geese winter in warm parts of North America from southwestern British Columbia through parts of the United States to MexicoEscape to the sun: Snow geese winter in warm parts of North America from southwestern British Columbia through parts of the United States to Mexico
Final approach: Two birds fly in to land in the floating crowdFinal approach: Two birds fly in to land in the floating crowd

He added: ‘It is one of Mother Nature’s must see events.’ Snow geese breed north of the timberline in Greenland, Canada, Alaska, and the northeastern tip of Siberia, and winters in warm parts of North America from southwestern British Columbia through parts of the United States to Mexico. Occasionally some make their way to Europe. Snow Geese are visitors to the British Isles where they are seen regularly among flocks of Barnacle, Brent and Greenland white-fronted geese. There is also a feral population in Scotland.

Snow geese nests often fall prey to Arctic foxes and skuas, a type of seabirdSnow geese nests often fall prey to Arctic foxes and skuas, a type of seabird
Formation: The snow geese take to the sky en masseFormation: The snow geese take to the sky en masse
This incredible picture gives an impression of a blizzard as the birds swirl upwardsThis incredible picture gives an impression of a blizzard as the birds swirl upwards
Covered: The water is almost completely covered by the massed creaturesCovered: The water is almost completely covered by the massed creatures
The breeding population has increased by more than 300 per cent since the mid-1970sThe breeding population has increased by more than 300 per cent since the mid-1970s
Maelstrom: A chaotic scene as the birds rise into the sky as oneMaelstrom: A chaotic scene as the birds rise into the sky as one
Snow Geese travel through the Central Flyway, across some of the richest farmland in AmericaSnow Geese travel through the Central Flyway, across some of the richest farmland in America
Soaring: The snow gooe often nests in colonies. The female selects a nest site and builds the nest on an area of high groundSoaring: The snow gooe often nests in colonies. The female selects a nest site and builds the nest on an area of high ground
Ballet: The graceful mass movements on the geese are a must-see spectacle for nature loversBallet: The graceful mass movements of the geese are a must-see spectacle for nature lovers

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2346886/Bird-blizzard-More-million-snow-geese-blot-sky-make-epic-journey-Arctic-tundra.html#ixzz2XE5ANf8c

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