Hey guys, welcome back. From one large white bird to another, today we look at the snow goose. Now while it’s not as large as our last bird, the tundra swan, it is a fairly large bird, about the size of a Canada goose. Snow geese are all white with black wing tips, sport a smallish pink bill, and pink legs. There is a dark color morph referred to as a blue goose. These color variations are a dark bluish gray typically with a white head. The color is caused by a gene carried by one or both parents.
Snow geese are fairly widespread, wintering in pockets of the central US and Atlantic and Gulf coasts, and breeding in the tundra of northern Canada and Alaska. They are a fairly commonly seen bird, especially during migration. I’ve seen a couple actually in Central Park when I worked there, but the majority I’d see were huge “v’s” of sometimes hundreds of birds flying over. Flying so high that you can just kind of make out a thin line in the air with your naked eye. Populations were so low a little over 100 years ago that hunting had to be stopped. Populations have rebounded. In fact, even with hunting snow geese once again being allowed beginning in the 1970s, their population continues to increase, leading to some issues of not enough habitat on their breeding grounds.
The snow goose featured in today’s post is an interesting one. It lives on the golf course in St. Louis’ Forest Park. I first saw it in the middle of summer! Apparently it showed up one winter and just never left. It just kind of hangs out all year round. Must be content with the food selection because as far as I know, it can fly just fine. Sticking with waterfowl, next up is one of North America’s largest diving ducks! See you then!