Snow geese are relatively new to the Dead Creek refuge, having begun to use the area as recently as 1981. Their numbers have continued to increase annually, and peak populations present here in mid-October exceed 20,000 birds.
Snow geese do not breed here but use the refuge for resting and feeding in both spring and fall. They pass through the Lake Champlain migrational corridor twice each year between their wintering ground in the mid-Atlantic states and their breeding areas in the Arctic reaches of eastern Canada. The birds arrive at Dead Creek in mid-to late March and leave in early April. We welcome their return in early October as large flocks descend onto these agricultural fields to rest and feed through November in preparation for the remainder of their southward journey.
The snow geese here are mostly greater snows. Lesser snow geese are similar in appearance, although slightly smaller and generally occur farther west. A few of the lesser snows, including dark-colored individuals referred to as "Blue Geese," may also be observed.
Young snow geese are dusky colored in contrast to the snow white plumage of adults. All find the refuge's combination of corn, buckwheat and green forage crops excellent for replenishing energy reserves needed for migration.
Possessing a strong social nature, snow geese prefer to
remain in large concentrations of their own species which assists their survival and provides a wealth of recreational opportunity for viewing and photography.
[Map caption reads] Snow Goose migration route connecting breeding and wintering areas.