The sounds of migration fill the air again, as flocks of geese head south from their nesting grounds in northern Manitoba.
As summer comes to an end, Canada geese are looking for a warmer place to spend the winter. And because Winnipeg was right in the middle of the flight path, residents could hear migratory birds flying overhead.
That noise, said Barret Miller of Fort Whyte Alive, a park in Winnipeg, is due to the higher number of geese traveling this time of year.
“It’s this time of year when geese numbers start to increase again. It’s not unusual,” said Miller, the park’s group services manager. “It’s pretty rea*suring that this is happening.”
“It’s the normal migratory cycle… they follow a path across the sky, following landmarks to get them from their northern nesting grounds to where they will spend the winter.”
According to Miller, the birds travel through a migratory corridor described as a highway in the sky that takes them easily from point A to point B. Winnipeg, he said, is a city that is part of the flyway from central North America.
He further described it as a path that geese are able to keep a mental map of during their journey. The final destination is the Gulf of Mexico.
Miller said the birds are able to detect signals that help them know when to begin their journey, starting with the Red River.
“They’ll notice the daylight changing, they’ll notice their young growing… their bodies are just preparing to migrate in their seasonal cycle,” Miller said. “(They) wake up one morning in the far north and (their) pond is covered in ice. It’s time to go.”
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As animals migrate, Miller warned about feeding them. It’s an experience to watch them, he says, but it’s just as important to remember that they can get their own food.
“We always ask people to refrain from feeding wildlife, and while it may break your heart to see all these geese halfway through their migration route, just know that they are here because we have naturally enough food in abundance. Just enjoy these geese from a distance.
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