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Thousands of snow geese flying above the Treasure Valley? Here’s what it looks like.

Tens of thousands of snow geese migrate through Boise

Each year in late winter and early spring, tens of thousands of snow geese and white-fronted geese stop at the Fort Boise Wildlife Management Area while migrating to nesting grounds in Alaska and Siberia.
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Each year in late winter and early spring, tens of thousands of snow geese and white-fronted geese stop at the Fort Boise Wildlife Management Area while migrating to nesting grounds in Alaska and Siberia.

This time of year, parts of Idaho go to the birds — from dozens of bald eagles roosting near Hagerman to hundreds of swans that gather in East Idaho.

But the largest flock by far is that of snow geese and white-fronted geese, which head to a Canyon County wildlife area by the tens of thousands.

“We typically start seeing these species of geese show up in early to mid-February and peaking mid- to late March,” said Tyler Archibald, who works at the Fort Boise Wildlife Management Area where the birds end up.

In a news release from Idaho Fish and Game, Archibald said the birds arrive fairly suddenly — and leave just as abruptly.

“Usually by about mid-April, they’re all gone,” Archibald said.

Archibald said the geese are “staging” at the wildlife area northwest of Parma near the Oregon border after spending the winter in Central California. From Idaho, they’ll head to northern Alaska and Siberia to nest, he said.

The geese first arrived in the early 1990s, and the gaggle has steadily grown since then, Fish and Game officials said.

“In the eight years I’ve been here, we’ve consistently had probably around 40,000 geese each year,” Archibald said.

The Fort Boise WMA, which is open year-round, is an hour drive from Boise. Access is free.

The area is popular for hunting and bird watching, and Archibald said a wildlife viewing platform that was installed in recent years offers a great view of the geese.

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