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Snow Geese Passing Through on Their Way South

We’ve had a bunch of visitors in the Ozarks over the last few days, but they’re just passing through. KSMU’s Michele Skalicky explains…

If you were outside any last weekend and over the last couple of days, you probably saw and heard the many flocks of snow geese flying over Southwest Missouri.Doreen Mengel is a resource scientist with the Missouri Department of Conservation...

"They're heading to their wintering areas, which, typically, they winter on the coastal marshes of Texas and Louisiana."

The sight of snow geese flying over the Ozarks is a sign that cold weather is coming. Mengel says snow geese, unlike Canada geese, aren’t as tolerant of cold temperatures…

"And so, once the conditions start turning cold and particularly if water ices up, the snow geese pretty well head south."

The snow geese are headed south from their breeding grounds in the Arctic areas, and, according to Mengel, the Ozarks are in their migratory patterns.The sight and sound of snow geese give you reason to pause and look up at the sky. But their descent, which is seen most often in the spring, is even more impressive...

"One of the most amazing sights, I think, is when they start doing their--where they funnel down as they're going in to roost of an evening, and you'll have this huge funnel cloud, and it's virtually deafening."

Snow geese numbers have been increasing to the point where steps are being taken to keep their numbers in check so they don’t exceed the ability of their habitat in the Arctic Tundra to support them.And, if you noticed the darker geese mixed in with white ones, those are a different color phase of the same species often called a blue goose.For KSMU News, I’m Michele Skalicky.

photo credit: Missouri Department of Conservation Snow Geese in Flight photo credit: Missouri Department of Conservation Snow Geese in Flight photo credit: Missouri Department of Conservation photo credit: Missouri Department of Conservation