Conservation Connection: Snow Geese
(KPLR) – You may have seen or heard them around the St. Louis area. They`re descending by the thousands right now. We`re talking about snow geese. Snow geese are normally around this time of year, but we`re seeing record numbers now. Urban Wildlife Biologist Erin Shank shed some light on the situation.
Q. What are snow geese?
- Snow geese are common in marshes, rivers, lakes and crop fields
- This medium-sized goose has two color morphs, white and blue
- They spend the winter in Missouri, then go north to the Arctic tundra to nest
Q. Why are we seeing so many right now?
- They normally concentrate more in the western part of the state
- Heavy snows in western MO are driving them here
- They`re staying here for now because of heavy snow north of here
Q. Where can we see them?
- Heaviest concentrations are in St. Charles and Lincoln Counties
- For example, at last week`s count there were 7,000 on B.K. Leach Conservation area in Lincoln, Co., and an estimated 15,000 others in the vicinity
- Also many sightings along Highway 79 between Lincoln and St. Charles Counties
Q. I understand a flock of thousands of them can be an amazing sight, but they`re also causing some problems in the Arctic. What`s the story?
- Snow geese are reproducing in very large numbers
- Populations are growing to the point they are over browsing the tundra vegetation and upsetting the ecosystem
Q. Is there something that can be done?
- Hunting is one of the best tools to help control the population
- Excellent habitat makes the confluence area a great place to hunt geese
- The Federal government has issued a Light Geese Conservation Order allowing unlimited harvest of snow geese with the proper permit through April 30