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Watch the sky turn white

See as many as 20,000 snow geese

Delta — It's a sight you have to see to believe: thousands of white snow and Ross' geese lifting off Gunnison Bend Reservoir amid honks and the beating of wings.

Geese leave Gunnison Bend Reservoir to feed in surrounding fields.

Geese leave Gunnison Bend Reservoir to feed in surrounding fields.

Photo by Lynn Chamberlain

You can see this spectacle yourself on Feb. 21 and 22, 2014 at the annual Delta Snow Goose Festival. The festival will be held at and near Gunnison Bend Reservoir, just west of Delta. Admission is free.

As many as 20,000 geese — mostly snow geese — have been at the reservoir during past festivals. Except for the black tips on their wings, snow geese are pure white.

The festival is a terrific activity for the whole family.

"We'll provide spotting scopes so you can get a close look at the geese," says Bob Walters, Watchable Wildlife coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. "We'll also be available to answer any questions you have."

You can learn more about the festival at www.deltagoosefestival.com.

The best times to see the geese

The areas where you'll see the geese vary according to the time of the day.

Walters says if you arrive early in the morning, you can watch the geese feeding in fields that surround the reservoir. Then, between 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., the geese take off and fly back to the reservoir. "That's an exciting time to see and hear the geese," he says.

After landing on the reservoir, the geese usually spend the next few hours there. "Then, anywhere from 4 to 6 p.m., they take off again and fly back to the fields," Walters says. "It's thrilling to be there when the geese take off."

DWR biologists will watch which fields the geese fly to. If you arrive after the geese have left the reservoir, the biologists will direct you to the fields where the geese are feeding.

Viewing tips

  • Use binoculars or a spotting scope to view the geese. If you get too close to the geese, you could scare them away.
  • If you pull off the road to view the geese, pull as far off the road as you can. And watch for cars.
  • The weather could be cold and wet. Bring the proper clothes so you can stay warm and dry.

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