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Snow Geese Migration at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area

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Over 70,000 Migrating Snow Geese and Other Birds

Middle Creek - Lancaster, PAI’ve spent almost my entire life in Lancaster County. I’ve had the chance to see some incredible shows at some of the local theatres.  I’ve had the opportunity to ride the train at Strasburg Rail Road, ride the coaster at Dutch Wonderland and visit all of the local towns.  And, I’ve been able to eat at many of the local PA Dutch restaurants in the area.  However, I’ve never been able to get up to see the birds.

I should mention that I, by no means am a bird watcher.  With that being said, I have always wanted the opportunity to head up to Middle Creek Wildlife Preserve to witness the thousands of birds that stopover for a few weeks every year on their way north.  Yesterday, I got my chance!

From what I’ve been told and read, dawn and dusk are the best time to see the majority of the waterfowl who stay at the lake overnight.  They head out in the morning to feed in fields during the day and return in the evening to roost overnight.  Unfortunately, with our busy schedule, I couldn’t get there during “peak” hours.  So, I picked up the kids after school and we headed up to hopefully see some during the mid-afternoon.

Middle Creek - Lancaster, PAWe pulled up to the recommended area to a surprising number of vehicles and headed out for a 15-20 minute walk to a lookout point by the lake.  Now, I should mention that I LOVE photography and am very proud of the Nikon that I own along with a few lenses and tripods. However, I was not prepared for the size and quality of some of the cameras that were already set up. I took my time finding a spot and set up my “little” camera and waited to see what was going to happen.  Here’s what I learned, you can’t take any bad pictures or videos from this area.  My camera did a wonderful job and my cell phone was able to get a great video!!!

Middle Creek - Lancaster, PAMy kids did a fairly good job of waiting for something to happen, and then it did. My 13-year old described it best when he said it sounded like what he would imagine a “battle cry from an Army” sounded like. It was spectacular!!! You hear the rumblings of sound and then this cry rips right through your body and they take off.  Thousands of waterfowl flying over the water and way above your heads. They are all heading in one direction and the next thing you know they are turning and heading in the opposite direction. It was almost like watching thousands of birds dance in mid-air.  While we were there, we had the privilege of watching this two or three more times before we had to leave.

Overall, it was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen.  My kids were stunned and loved every minute of it!

Middle Creek has a Waterfowl Migration Update posted on their site where you can see the numbers of different birds and counts for the fowl every couple of days.

My suggestion to you is if you are ever in the area during mid to late February, make the time to visit the Middle Creek Wildlife Preserve. I promise you, it’s a sight to behold.

Due to COVID this year, there are a few changes that have been made.  Please watch this video from Middle Creek to see all of the changes that have been made.

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