First snow geese of the spring back in Southcentral Alaska

Posted: Friday, April 21, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The snow geese are back, and they probably will be flying overhead or feeding in area wetlands over the next few weeks.

The vanguard showed up in Cook Inlet last week, said Jerry Hupp, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey's Alaska Biological Science Center.

The birds winter in Washington state and British Columbia and nest on Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean north of the Russian mainland.

When they reach the island after the 2,500- to 3,000-mile flight, they join another group of snow geese that winter in Southern California and Mexico.

About 45,000 of the white geese fly through Cook Inlet each spring, Hupp said. They stop first at the Stikine River near Wrangell and then continue to Cook Inlet, stopping mainly around Kenai River Flats, Redoubt Bay and the mouth of the Susitna River.

They fly to the lower Yukon River after leaving the Inlet. From there the route is not known but many geese probably migrate to the Seward Peninsula and then across the Bering Strait, Hupp said.

When they stop, they feed. ''They're stocking up before they take a long flight,'' Hupp said.

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