For a birder or naturalist, there may be no better month to visit Missouri than February. Though its fickle weather can pose a challenge, late winter is a great time to observe migrant geese (snows and greater white-fronts), American white pelicans and a good diversity of wintering waterfowl. Of course, bald eagles and peregrine falcons are often present as well, feasting on injured or winter-stressed birds.
Anyone who has read this blog over the years knows that I am especially inspired by snow geese. After wintering in Gulf Coast marshes or on croplands of the lower Mississippi Valley, these vocal travelers funnel northward, on their way to Arctic breeding grounds. Massive flocks may be encountered across a broad flyway that extends from central Kansas to western Illinois; Missouri lies within the heart of that flyway and hosts the majority of the migrants.
Here in central Missouri, Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area, on the Missouri River floodplain, is one of the better areas to observe snow geese, which often mingle with greater white-fronted geese, Canada geese, tundra swans and a host of ducks. Recent reports indicate that up to 900 snow geese have been encountered there this week and I plan a visit within a few days to enjoy the spectacle myself.