Feb 27 2012
Looking for some bird excitement? If you haven’t been to Middle Creek yet, now’s the time to go.
At the peak of migration, late February through early March, more than 100,000 snow geese and 10,000 tundra swans stop at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area near Kleinfeltersville, PA.
Every year the spectacle is different and the numbers fluctuate. The birds wait for good weather and move north when the lakes thaw. This winter many Pennsylvania lakes never fully froze so low numbers of geese and swans have been scattered around the state.
Nonetheless, Dave Kerr found plenty to photograph when he visited Middle Creek a couple of weeks ago. Pictured here are my favorites — the tundra swans!
Swans are subdued. Snow geese are not. When the geese are scared by a bald eagle all of them leap into the air shouting their fear. The noise is like the roar of a filled football stadium. The spectacle is amazing.
Dave recorded a short video of it, posted here on his Flickr site.
Barbara Galatti filmed it in February 2009. Her YouTube video begins before dawn and shows several huge rushes of snow geese. Turn up your speakers to get the full effect — including the wind!
Visit Middle Creek soon for lots of bird excitement. Maybe I’ll see you there.
p.s. This huge snow goose population is beautiful to watch, but it is overwhelming the habitat in their arctic breeding grounds. To address this, there is now a springtime snow goose hunt as well as one in the fall. Hunting occurs at Middle Creek Monday through Saturday. There is no hunting on Sunday.