In Our Back Yard - 20,000 Snow Geese
Mar 07, 2019 11:30AM
A few years ago, the community of Delta, Utah, wanted to take advantage of their feathered visitors passing through the area and created the “Delta Snow Goose Festival” the last Friday and Saturday in February. Because of the late winter storms this year there are still thousands of geese hanging around the Gunnison Bend Reservoir during the first few weeks of March. The huge number of geese is an amazing sight well worth the drive to Delta.
The viewing of hundreds or thousands of birds taking off from or landing on the lake does require some sticktoitiveness and patience for the most rewarding sights. Typically, by the time you drive to Delta and find your way the Gunnison Bend Reservoir, the geese have left the water and flown off to nearby farm fields to feed. About 10:30 or 11, listen for the birds. You will probably hear them in the air before you see them. They will, as a flock, make a pass over the lake, like any good pilot to check out the landing surface. Then they will all land within the span of a couple minutes. They will float around in groups of several hundreds with a few birds challenging the social order if you patiently observe. These birds are protected wildlife and it is both inappropriate and illegal to harass them. It will be hours before they fly off the lake for their evening feed. When they do take to the air it will be a matter of just a few seconds and hundreds of very vocal birds are off the water and in the air. This is an incredible wildlife experience. It is a sight and sound you will remember forever.
Delta is in west-central Utah at the junction of U.S. Highway 6 & 50. West of Delta the Sevier River is dammed creating the Gunnison Bend Reservoir for water storage and irrigation. The reservoir is named in honor of John Williams Gunnison, an Army officer and explorer of the western U.S. Gunnison was killed in an Indian massacre not far from the site of the Gunnison Bend Reservoir.