Best time to travel to Alaska

Snow Geese Spring Migration in Alaska

Millions of wild cries hover above the land as endless birds fly overhead—just to notify they're coming home

Best time: late February–April

Snow Geese Spring Migration
Snow Geese Spring Migration
Snow Geese Spring Migration
Snow Geese Spring Migration
Snow geese at Copper River Delta, Alaska

One hears them long before they appear in sight. The stunning, loud calls become louder and louder tearing the air apart—this means an immense cloud of wild geese is hurrying back home to Alaska, Canada, and Greenland after their winter stay as far south as Texas or Mexico.

The spring migration is way more impressive than autumn, as in spring the birds act more unified in a large stream. Flocks of snow geese set off north already in late February, and in March the migration is already at full speed.

The bird cloud paves its way across Canada and the northern U.S. In Alaska, you can spot migrating birds at the Matanuska Valley in the southcentral part of the state, not far from Anchorage. Copper River Delta and Stikine River Delta, in southeastern Alaska, are great locations to observe clouds of geese during both spring and fall migrations. A considerable population of snow geese stays to breed and build nests in Alaska. The largest colonies can be found in the northernmost North Slope region, where geese are attracted by rich cotton grass and huge open spaces. The Ikpikpuk River Delta and the Kukpowruk River delta host the largest colonies of these waterfowl over the summer.

Practical info

When is the best time to witness snow geese spring migration in Alaska?

The migration season for snow geese in Alaska starts in late February and ends in April usually. The peak of the migration is witnessed in March, which is the best time to visit. During this season, the flocks of geese fly towards their destination in large numbers. A visit during this time would be most fruitful to experience the snow geese spring migration in Alaska. Show more

Where are the best locations for observing migrating snow geese in Alaska?

When it comes to observing the snow geese migrating in Alaska, there are a few locations to consider. Some of the locations known to offer great viewing experiences during snow geese spring and fall migration are Matanuska Valley in south-central Alaska, Stikine River Delta, and Copper River Delta in southeastern Alaska. During summer, the largest colony of geese can be found in Ikpikpuk River Delta and Kukpowruk River delta on the northernmost North Slope region of Alaska. Show more

How do snow geese migrate from their winter homes in the south to Alaska?

In their annual spring journey from their winter homes in the South to Alaska, snow geese travel in a predictable pattern. They fly in V-formation, led by the strongest bird. Travelling a distance of around 3,000 miles, the birds make stops to rest and feed along the way. To remember the route, they follow landmarks such as river valleys every year, and thus the route remains unchanged. Show more

When do snow geese begin nesting in Alaska, and where are the largest colonies found?

During their migration to Alaska, snow geese arrive in considerable numbers and stay back to breed once they get there. The geese start nesting activities in April, with the largest hatching communities located in the northernmost North Slope region of Alaska. The two largest colonies of these birds during the summer are found in Ikpikpuk River Delta and Kukpowruk River delta of the state respectively. Show more

In addition to snow geese, what other types of birds can be spotted during the spring migration in Alaska?

Apart from snow geese, the spring season marks the arrival of numerous migrating bird species to Alaska. The most common birds that can be spotted during the migration season are ducks, sandhill cranes, raptors, shorebirds, to name a few. For birdwatching enthusiasts, Copper River Delta is a preferable spot to witness more than 20 species of shorebirds and waterfowl in their natural habitat. Show more

Ask a question
Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin