Thousands of snow geese return to Middle Creek

CLAY TOWNSHIP, LANCASTER COUNTY, P.A. --- About 50,000 snow geese are making Middle Creek home, for the time being.

Al Keith with the Middle Creek Wildlife Management said snow geese come to the Lancaster-Lebanon line due to access to open waters and fields to feed.

However, he said they never know what to expect when it comes to a guest list.

"It started last week with 35,000 and then the numbers dropped to 7,500. Now, they're up to 50,000 again," said Keith.

He also said their migration north peaks in March but the extent of their stay at Middle Creek could go until April.

"It's dependent upon the snow cover up in the Finger Lakes region of New York. The more snow there is up there, that's their next major stop so they're not going to go as long as there's a lot of snow," said Keith.

He said the natural event, for years, has drawn people in from around the globe.

"I just got a call three days ago from somebody wanting to come from Hong Kong to see the birds," said Keith.

Onlooker Dan Grimes came from Beaver, Pennsylvania to check out the migration stop.

"When they take off, it's kind of like a tornado. They're coming and going every which way," said Grimes.

Keith said the best times to watch the snow geese is in the middle of the week, at dusk and dawn.

Crimes said the sounds and shear number of birds on the water brings them out to see the spectacle.

"Why not? I mean, nature is an amazing thing," said Grimes.

According to the Middle Creek Wildlife Management, the largest number of snow geese ever recorded at Middle Creek was more than 180,000 in 2007.