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Geese: The Real Snowbirds in Page

December 20
15:40 2013

Geese Golf CourseWhile other tourists are waiting for warmer weather, geese are flocking to Page.

They usually come in November and stay until March,” says John Spence, Wildlife Specialist with the National Park Service at Glen Canyon Dam.

According to Spence, the geese fly down from northern Utah and other areas up north when lakes start freezing over.

Geese memorize their migration route using rivers, mountain ranges and other terrain to navigate. They pass this information down from generation to generation, leading to invisible sky routes that the birds follow faithfully year after year.

They like to settle in areas with open water and plenty of grass. That’s why the Page Golf Course is so popular. Geese love to eat grass,” says Spence. “They’re like cows.”

Golf courses are ideal geese hangouts, with plenty of water, food and safety. Geese don’t have to worry about being hunted on a golf course.

Nothing seems to phase the geese,” Spence remarks. “It’s their golf course, as far as they’re concerned.”

John Spence, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona and Utah In some areas, geese have set up year-round residency and have become a nuisance. In Page, all the geese leave by March. They migrate back up north for breeding season. Heat is usually a problem for geese in the desert,” says Spence. “They’re big birds and have a hard time staying cool.”

No wonder, when you think about the layers of down they’re wearing.

Page hosts 200 to 400 geese every year. “There’s a flock of about 250 geese in Page right now,” says Spence.

About 99% of the geese in Page are Canadian geese. Other species that sometimes visit the area are snow geese, Ross geese and greater white-fronted geese.

In 2012, Spence’s leadership of the Escalante River Watershed Partnership was selected by the Secretary of the Interior as one of the top 10 river-based projects under the Great American Outdoors Rivers Initiative.

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