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Snow Goose image
Snow Goose

Snow Goose

(Bird)

Snow Goose Baby
Snow Goose Baby

Snow Goose Habits

The snow goose is one of the few species that are able to survive in the harsh environment of the Arctic region. Its breeding season coincides with the brief Arctic summer. The snow goose raises its young in a land virtually free form competitors, predators, and human disturbance.
From June to August, the snow goose inhabits the Arctic tundra of northeastern Siberia, North America, and Greenland. It generally settles into low, sheltered ground near the water.
Almost as soon as the newborns can fly at the end of summer, the geese migrate south. Most geese will cross the Bering Sea and head for the northwest coast of the United States, before moving south to California and the Gulf of Mexico. Migrating flocks can be so dense that they block out the sun.

Snow Goose Communication

Snow Geese are possibly the noisiest of all waterfowl. Their main call, made by both males and females, is a nasal, one-syllable honk given at any hour of the day or night, at any time of year, in the air or on the ground. Distant calling flocks are reminiscent of a pack of baying hounds. Birds less than a year old have a clearer and higher-pitched whistle.
Family groups use a series of guttural notes to communicate with each other while feeding. Parents make a fast, quiet series of notes as a brood call to round up goslings. During nesting, they use a penetrating alarm call that varies in intensity. The flight call is a continuous chorus of shrill cries, hoarse honks, and high-pitched quacks, audible both day and night.

Snow Goose Breeding

Unlike most geese, which are extremely aggressive and antisocial during the breeding season, snow geese nest together in huge colonies. In the more popular breeding grounds, colonies numbering nearly 200,000 pairs are not uncommon.
Snow geese pair for life, although trios of a male and two females and , rarely, two males and a female, sometimes occur. Paired birds migrate together, and as soon as they reach their breeding grounds, they begin nest building. Both birds work together to build their nest, which is set in a hollow on the ground of the open Arctic plane, or tundra.
The female incubated the eggs for 22-23 days while the male stands guard. Protected by both parents, the goslings soon become self-sufficient. In little more than a month, they are ready to migrate south.

Snow Goose Food & Feeding

The snow goose's diet varies considerably throughout the year according to the availability of food in its different summer and winter habitats. It feeds mainly on grass, wheat, rice, and other vegetation, although it eats insects as well. It is a good swimmer but prefers to feed on land, where its relatively short, serrated-edged bill makes it well-suited to grazing on the short tundra vegetation.

Snow Goose Key Facts

        Size 
              Height: Length: 25-30 inches. Wingspan: 50-65 inches
              Weight: Lesser, 5-6 lb. Greater, 6-7 lb
       Breeding
             Sexual maturity: 2-3 years
             Mating: From mid-June
             Gestation: Incubation: 22-23 days
             Number of young: Eggs: 4-5, creamy white
       Lifestyle 
            Habit: Sociable and migratory
            Diet: Grass, grain, berries, water plants, and insects
            Lifespan: Typically 3 years. Captive birds, 15-20 years

 

DID YOU KNOW?

  • All 15 species of true geese inhabit the Northern hemisphere.
  • Snow geese fly in V-formation to reduce wind drag and risk of collision.
  • A pure white snow goose may breed with a blue snow goose, producing offspring of varying shades.
  • The snow goose is the noisiest of all geese; it has a shrill honk that can be hear long before it flies into view.
  • Snow geese live in colonies which can number nearly 200,000 pairs.

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