Thousands of snow geese delight bird watchers of all ages

Thousands of snow geese delight bird watchers of all ages
Cody Mooney, visiting from Loveland, Colo., tosses his 17-month-old daughter Willow in the air as snow geese take flight behind, Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012, in the Skagit Valley near La Conner, Wash. Bird watchers took advantage of a day without rain Thursday to gaze at some of the tens of thousands of snow geese that spend the winter near the mouth of the Skagit River there. The geese migrate from their mating grounds in Alaska and Siberia in late November to spend the winter in wetlands and farm fields of the Skagit Valley and other areas of northwest Washington. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

LA CONNER, Wash. (AP) — Bird watchers took advantage of a day without rain Thursday to gaze at snow geese that spend the winter at a reserve near the mouth of the Skagit River.

Thousands of the white birds were in sight along with a few trumpeter swans and snowy owls.

The geese fly in loose "V'' formations that break up into family groups of three — two parents and an offspring — as they glide to a landing. They spend most of their time foraging in muddy fields.

The birds honk a bit and occasionally flap their wings. Occasionally a bald eagle scares them into the air in a dramatic beating of their wings and loud honking.

The snow geese usually settle back down in the same field within just a few minutes.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.