Snow goose comes in for a landing

Watch the sky turn white at annual Delta Snow Goose Festival

Delta — It's a sight you have to see to believe: Thousands of geese lifting off Gunnison Bend Reservoir amid honks and the beating of wings. If you want to see the incredible spectacle yourself, head to the annual Delta Snow Goose Festival later this month.

The festival, hosted by the Delta Chamber of Commerce, will be held Feb. 26–27 at Gunnison Bend Reservoir, west of Delta. Part of the festival includes a free snow goose viewing event hosted by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

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 completely white. DWR biologists will be available to provide information about the birds and help you find them.

Snow goose comes in for a landing

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

"It's an exciting time to be there," says DWR Regional Outreach Manager Phil Tuttle. "All those thousands of geese in flight make for incredible photos. Watching and hearing the geese take off can take your breath away."

Tuttle says watching the geese is a fun activity for the whole family. "We encourage you to come out and see these amazing birds in flight," he says.

After landing on the reservoir, the geese usually spend the next few hours there. Then, sometime between 4–6 p.m., the birds take off again and fly back to the fields. 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.

Tuttle provides the following tips and reminders:

  • Try to bring your own binoculars or a spotting scope to view the geese. If you get too close to the birds, you could scare them away.
  • Please respect private property. "Trespassing to view the geese is not legal," he says.
  • For your safety, if you pull off the road to view the geese, pull as far off the road as you can.
  • Be prepared for cold, wet weather by dressing in layers that will help you stay warm and dry.
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