Ready for a Treat, Outdoor Enthusiasts? Flock to See the Snow Geese at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area

It’s an awe-inspiring event Lancaster County wildlife fans look forward to in late winter every year… the

Photo credit: Michelle Stout

arrival of the snow geese! Every year, snow geese and other waterfowl migrate from the south and make a rest stop at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in Kleinfeltersville PA. We encourage our guests to get out and experience it if they’re staying with us when the migration is in progress.

It really is a birder’s paradise – and it’s only about 20 minutes from the Historic Smithton Inn! Last year, an astounding 55,000 snow geese on the migration season’s most active day were reported to have visited Middle Creek on their way north. And there are many other types of waterfowl that make their stop here as well: Tundra swans, Canadian geese, Mallard ducks, Northern pintails, Ruddy ducks, Gadwalls, American black ducks, and Northern shovelers.

When the flocks of snow geese begin to arrive depends on a number of variables including the timing of the spring thaw. Generally, the birds begin to make their appearance after the ice thaws to create areas of open water and when snow is no longer covering the grains the geese depend on for food.

As late February/early March arrives and weather conditions improve (let’s hope!), visitors to Middle Creek should start to see snow geese in plenty. According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission website, you might consider visiting the area during the first weekend of March to experience the snow geese migration.

Be sure to stop by the Visitors Center for a map (and self-guided tour instructions) and to get the latest updates of bird sightings. And don’t forget your binoculars, camera, and a field guide so you can get a great view, capture a lasting memory, and identify the varieties of birds you’ll see there. The weather can be a bit unpredictable in early March, so you might need just a light jacket or a winter coat with all the hat-glove-scarf trimmings. If you’re visiting from out of the area, I recommend packing for both scenarios. It’s best to be prepared!

I hope you’ll take the opportunity to see this wondrous annual wildlife ritual. And when you do, I hope you’ll share your photos with us!

By Rebecca Gallagher