News & Events

See photos from a real wild goose chase

June 22, 2018

On a warm spring morning, dozens of biologists and volunteers piled onto boats at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge to head out on a wild goose chase.
For three weeks, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources captured thousands of Canada geese around the state. Biologists attach leg bands to the birds and release them again as part of a program to measure geese migration and better manage hunting seasons.
In order to capture the birds, crews set out in small groups on airboats in the shallow impoundment ponds on the refuge. During May and June, Canada geese molt and are unable to fly while growing new feathers.
As one person pilots the airboats toward the flightless birds, two more people lie on their stomachs and hang off the front of the boat where they scoop up geese while on the move.
During the day at Bear River, more than 600 geese were captured and banded through this waterfowl rodeo.
“The reason that we band geese is to determine mortality rates and survival rates,” said Rich Hansen, who manages the capture operation.
Any time a hunter shoots a goose with a leg band, they can load their location into an online database. From this, scientists get a better idea of where geese move throughout their lives and how long they live.
Despite their name, only a few of the Canada geese in Utah end up in Canada. Many of them head south to California or Arizona, while 8,000 to 12,000 will stay in Utah year-round, according to Hansen.

News & Events

Searching for Toads

July 23, 2017

Utah biologists roam the wetlands of Monte Cristo in search of boreal toads. Boreal toad populations have been shrinking around the West. The large toads are difficult to study, but Utah scientists are trying to get a better idea of how local populations are doing.

News & Events

Climbing Malan’s Peak

July 21, 2017

In between the city of Ogden and the summits of the Wasatch Range sits Malan’s Peak. The summit of the rocky triangular peak rises above Central Ogden to a height of just under 7,000 feet.

Despite a 2,000 foot climb, the Malan’s Peak Trail is popular during the summer as it winds through thick evergreens over cool creeks.

News & Events

Bird Festival Owl Prowl

May 19, 2017

The 19th annual Great Salt Lake Bird Festival kicked off on Thursday, May 18, 2017. The event features 50 field trips, workshops and lectures covering wild birds throughout Northern Utah. One of the first trips was Thursday’s Owl Prowl on Antelope Island.