Outdoors Blog

Thousands of snow geese take annual break near Parma

Snow and greater white-fronted geese inhabit the Fort Boise Wildlife Management Area by the thousands in March and April. Here, a flock of white-fronted geese dots the sky.
Snow and greater white-fronted geese inhabit the Fort Boise Wildlife Management Area by the thousands in March and April. Here, a flock of white-fronted geese dots the sky. ccripe@idahostatesman.com

If a sky full of white geese intrigues you, now is the time to check out an annual spectacle at the Fort Boise Wildlife Management Area.

The snow and greater white-fronted geese arrive in February or early March with a peak viewing season of roughly March 15 to April 15. They’re on the way to the northern reaches of the planet — and they don’t stop here on the way back.

“It’s a spectacle to be seen,” said Deniz Aygen, a watchable wildlife biologist for Idaho Fish and Game. “... It’s Idaho’s most dependable location for snow and greater white-fronted geese. We don’t have them living here year-round.”

Fish and Game estimates that more than 40,000 snow geese pass through the Fort Boise WMA each year. The geese usually leave the Fort Boise ponds just before dawn and just before sunset. They return a few hours later, making late morning a good time to watch for them. However, if it’s cloudy or stormy the geese might not return until after noon.

It’s best to view the geese from an elevated position like the back of a pickup truck. But soon, that won’t be necessary. Fish and Game is building a 20-foot viewing structure that should be completed within a week. The project is in partnership with the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Golden Eagle Audubon Society and Southwestern Idaho Birders Association.

Getting there: From westbound I-84, take exit 26 and follow U.S. 20/26 west for almost 20 miles. Take a left on Old Fort Boise Road. There’s a parking area next to the viewing structure.

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