Aleutian Canada Geese have been arriving to their winter nesting grounds at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service preserve west of Modesto off Beckwith Road. The birds are feeding on alfalfa and young wheat planted by the service. About 14,000 Aleutians have arrived, but the number will increase in the next few months to an estimated 100,000 to 130,000. The geese were taken off the endangered species list in 2001. The late Bill Lyons Sr. of Mapes Ranch received special recognition from the Fish and Wildlife Service for his efforts to preserve and promote the geese.
(Photos By Bart Ah You / The Modesto Bee)