Snow geese descend in record numbers on St. Charles and Lincoln Counties
Tue, 03/05/2013 - 9:24am — jerekj
St. Charles and Lincoln Counties, Mo. – Unusually large numbers of snow geese are congregating on and near the Confluence area of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. Heavy snows in the western part of Missouri are driving the birds east and to the Confluence.
As of last week, B.K. Leach Conservation Area in Lincoln County recorded 7,000 snow geese on the area with an estimated 15,000 in the surrounding vicinity. This should provide exceptional opportunities for snow geese hunters, as well as wildlife watchers, video and still photographers.
According to Andy Tappmeyer, Wildlife Management Biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), for the last several days there have been larger than normal amounts of snow geese in the St. Peter's area and on many of the duck clubs from St. Peter's through the north St. Charles county bottoms, and into the Lincoln County area along the Mississippi river. The birds have been spreading off the duck clubs and working private fields several miles from the river.
“This morning (March 4) I saw several groups of birds in the fields along Highway 79 from the Lincoln county line all the way into St. Peters,” reports Tappmeyer.
Snow geese are constantly on the move looking for a place to feed. But with a little scouting in the vicinity of the areas mentioned snow geese hunters could haul in an exceptionally good harvest. Excellent habitat around the Confluence makes this area a great place to hunt snow geese.
Wildlife watchers and still and video photographers have an outstanding chance to gather some note-worthy shots. Thousands of the birds massed together into a sea of white can be an amazing sight.
Snow geese overwinter in the southern part of their range, including Missouri, and return north to the arctic tundra to nest. This medium-sized goose has two color morphs, formerly considered separate species: white and blue. The white morph is mostly white, with black wingtips. The blue morph is mostly grayish-brown overall, with a white head and neck, and white on the underside of the wing.
Snow geese are common in marshes, rivers, lakes and crop fields. Populations of this species, like Ross’s goose, have increased to a historically high level. As a result they are overgrazing their arctic nesting range and degrading large areas of the arctic tundra where other species nest. Wildlife agencies have been trying to control the population size through various methods, including hunting.