It is not unusual for Canada geese to winter in North Dakota.
Primarily they utilize open water in the Tailrace area below Garrison Dam and feed in the fields near Riverdale. They'll use the Missouri farther downstream too, and can often be found in the Bismarck and Washburn areas.
The number of geese builds up as the days get longer. This last week the Missouri River began to open up too. That gave the geese much more water on which to rest and seek protection from predators. They also began to move in greater numbers up the river, feeding in fields not far from the Missouri.
Kim Fundingsland is a staff writer for The Minot Daily News.
Seeing the geese on the move, even if only a few miles farther north than they were earlier, is always encouraging. They carry with them the promise of spring and of warmer days to come. They are feathered optimists that lift the heads and spirits of all who see them.
Yes, we may yet get some winter weather that will blast us with a chilly, wet reminder that we reside in a northern climate. But knowing the geese are just a few miles away gives hope of more favorable days ahead despite what the weather may yet bring.
Sometimes I wonder if the geese know how much they raise the spirits of those who count each day of winter in growing anticipation of the warm of spring. I like to think they do.
We have other signs of spring too, such as robins and prairie crocus and dancing sharp-tailed grouse. But it is the geese who always deliver the most recognizeable sound of spring and never fail to attract the eye of the observer.
To me the geese send an unmistakable signal that the worst of winter is behind us and that it won't be long before fishing boats will be seen on our lakes once again, spring yard work will get under way and long sleeves will give way to short.
It may take a few more weeks for that to occur, certainly, but the promise has already been made.
I'm with the geese on this one.