They are back


Well-known member
Jun 29, 2001
Reaction score
The first geese of the season arrived in Fairbanks on Thursday and received a rude welcome.

Just minutes after two Canada geese landed at Creamer's Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge at 10:20 a.m., a bald eagle flew in and chased them off. The two geese were on the ground for about 25 minutes before the mature eagle arrived from the east end of the field where the geese had landed in the snow.

"That's what scared them," said taxi driver Larry Shuster, who was sitting in his cab in the front parking lot of the refuge.

The geese easily outdistanced their larger predator, turning south across Noyes Slough and disappearing while the eagle trailed off to the west to look for an easier meal.

Rondell Jimmie and Roland Riley of Minto were sitting in the parking lot watching as the first two geese of the season arrived. The men had been at the intersection of Danby Street and College Road, just across the street from Creamer's Field, when they saw the geese overhead. The two men headed to the parking lot and saw the birds touch down.

"They came in and made a circle or two and landed," Riley said.

The men called radio station KFAR in hopes of collecting a $660 cash prize awarded to the first person who reports the first goose in town but were disappointed to find out the radio station ended that promotion two years ago.

"I said, 'Well, just tell your listeners then,"' Jimmie said.

Riley had a theory about why the geese were late showing up at Creamer's Field this year.

"They're having a hard time getting through security," Riley said with a smile and a laugh, referring to the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

State biologist John Wright, manager of Creamer's Field, said the geese were about a week behind schedule this year.

The April 18 arrival is the latest in 15 years, according to Wright's statistics. Last year the first geese touched down at Creamer's Field on April 11. The earliest arrival on record was April 5 in 1998.

"Global warming didn't happen this spring, I guess," Wright quipped.

Wright attributed the late arrival to a colder-than-normal April, which has kept the ground around Fairbanks covered with snow. The first geese arrived at Clearwater Lake in Delta Junction, 100 miles south of Fairbanks, two weeks ago. At last report, there were close to 200 geese on the lake, but none seemed eager to visit Fairbanks.

"They came into Clearwater Lake (in Delta Junction) about the normal time, so it doesn't seem like they were held up coming north," Wright said. "I think they get up and scout around, and if it doesn't look good they swing back to where they've got some open water."

Typically, only a handful of geese first show up at Creamer's Field. They are followed by a larger contingent.

"Usually within a day or two a flock of 40 or 50 shows up," Wright said.

With geese starting to arrive, Wright said people skiing or walking their dogs at Creamer's Field need to keep an eye out for birds in the fields. Both skiers and walkers should stick to the nature trails.

While the bald eagle provided the rude welcome for the first geese of the season on Thursday, Mother Nature may have an even ruder surprise awaiting the geese this morning. The National Weather Service was forecasting 1 to 3 inches of snow in the Tanana Valley on Thursday night.


Mar 11, 2001
Reaction score
Was that bald eagle defending young or territory Marmot?

Latest Posts


Top Bottom