A Snowless Autumn

One of the joys of living in Missouri is its location within a major North American flyway.  Each spring and fall, large flocks of waterfowl pass through the State, on their way between northern breeding grounds and wintering sites within Missouri or to our south.  Among those travelers are snow geese, a species that never fails to stir my soul.

Moving south in autumn, snow geese congregate at staging areas across the Heartland and tend to travel in massive flocks; in spring, they return to their Arctic breeding range in smaller, more widely scattered groups.  As a result, these vocal migrants are more often encountered in spring (generally from late February through mid March) than they are during the fall (usually mid November through mid December).

As we approach the winter solstice, I have yet to enjoy the sight and sound of migrating snow geese this autumn.  Though I have looked for them on and above the farmlands of central Missouri, listened for them in the night and traveled to regional wildlife preserves in an effort to find them, this is the first autumn since we moved to Columbia (in 1997) that my vigil has failed.  The snows have likely traveled east and west of central Missouri this fall; perhaps some passed through during my time in Colorado.  Whatever the reason for my lack of success, a snowless autumn was certainly a disappointment; then again, late February is but two months away!