Squaw Creek Snow Geese, 2013 Edition

One year ago my wife and I visited Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge for the first time. The huge flock of Snow Geese was incredible and I shared the story, images and video in this post. This year was even better, as the Snow Geese were in mind-boggling numbers — over 1 million birds. In this post I will share some photographs and video from that memorable morning.

We arrived at dawn (a little later than I had planned!) and drove around the lake looking for the geese. At that point they were still streaming in from the nearby farm fields. Our first stopping point featured many Trumpeter Swans and ducks.

Trumpeter Swans, Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Missouri
Trumpeter Swans, Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Missouri

As we made our way down the road a little further the assemblage of geese became readily apparent. Here are a couple shots of the swarm, taken from quite a distance:

Snow Geese, Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Missouri
Snow Geese, Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Missouri
Swarm of Snow Geese, Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Missouri
Swarm of Snow Geese, Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Missouri

Birds of prey gather in great numbers here as well, for obvious reasons, so it’s not a surprise that there are numerous Bald Eagles taking advantage of the situation. As we hiked up the berm that divides the main lake, there were many kill sites where geese and ducks had been recently consumed. We came across these mallard feathers and couldn’t help but be struck by the intense, iridescent colors.

Mallard duck feathers, Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Missouri
Mallard duck feathers, Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Missouri

I managed to capture this hawk right from the car:

Hawk taking flight, Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Missouri
Hawk taking flight, Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Missouri

This outing was my first opportunity to shoot video with my new Nikon D800, so I combined that footage with some from our Canon HD camcorder to make this 8-minute video (view full screen in HD if you can!):

By the time we left shortly after noon, it seemed like the geese had filled our entire field of view. It was truly amazing.

Snow Geese gather in Eagle Pool, Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Missouri
Snow Geese gather in Eagle Pool, Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Missouri

The numbers dropped all the way down to 40,000 at the end of February, but the birds have been streaming in over the last week or two and are apparently back in the hundreds of thousands as they make their way north.

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2 Responses to “Squaw Creek Snow Geese, 2013 Edition”

  1. Bonnie

    I never can get enough of witnessing the annual migration at Squaw Creek Wildlife Refuge. Your 8 minute video was very good at getting the feel of the place. I recommend if any reader of this blog is able to witness this first hand you should do it. Put it on your bucket list. It will blow you away.

  2. Snow Geese Migrating at Squaw Creek National Park | Namely Marly

    […] video that shares the effect of having a million plus snow geese as your neighbor, head over to Shawn’s site for a view of Squaw Creek on a Sunday morning. He also gives a little more details on how he took those […]

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