Canada geese make first drop into Fairbanks this year

Canada Goose on the Colville River Delta. (Photo by Ryan Askren, USGS.)

Canada Geese have touched down at the Creamers Field Refuge in Fairbanks. Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist Mark Ross says the first of iconic birds synonymous with spring in the interior, was spotted at the refuge Tuesday April 4th, continuing a trend toward earlier arrivals.

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”’76 to ’96 the average date of arrival for that 20 years was April 15,” Ross said. “From ’97 to this year, the average day of arrival is April 8. And for the last 10 years it was April 7. So we’re creeping up to that first week of April.”

Ross said 11 geese were tallied at the Refuge Wednesday during the first official count of the season. He said spring migration is weather dependent.

”If conditions are good for moving North in the spring, they do it as soon as possible to get to their breeding sites,” Ross said.

Ross said a marking study in the 1990’s showed the Canada Geese coming through Creamers Refuge overwintering in Washington and Oregon.

Dan Bross is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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