The Snow Goose (Anser caerulescens) is one of the most abundant species of waterfowl in the world. The eastern population of Snow Geese migrate in very large flocks from their high Arctic breeding grounds to their wintering grounds along the Atlantic coast during October and November. Birds from the same breeding population use many of the same stopover sites, or staging areas, where they rest and refuel each year. Here they forage and eat the stems, seeds, leaves, tubers and roots of grasses, sedges and rushes in addition to waste grains such as wheat and corn in fields where crops have been cut.
Snow Geese are dimorphic – they have two color morphs, light-morph (white) and dark-morph (blue). Most of the blue-morph Snow Geese breed and winter in central U.S., however, they are present in the East, just not as common as the white-morph. Until 1983, the 2 color morphs were considered separate species.
Those of us lucky enough to live near a staging area keep our eyes out for clouds of white “snowflakes” swirling in the sky at this time of year, and our ears tuned for the sound of baying hounds, for that is what an approaching flock of thousands of Snow Geese sounds like. (Photo: Blue-morph Snow Geese circled in red.)
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