The snow goose, the decline has stopped


The snow goose, the decline has stopped

The snow goose breeds in northern Canada and the northeastern tip of Siberia, and winters farther south on the continent, in the southern USA and beyond. Snow geese are rare visitors to the British Isles, where they are regularly sighted among flocks of barnacle geese, wood pigeons and Greenland white-fronted geese.

There is also a feral population in Scotland, from which many birds sighted in Great Britain appear to originate. In Central America, female visitors meet quite frequently during the winter months. Their nests are usually located in a slightly raised place on the ground and are built with plant material and lined with down.

They mate with the same partner for life.
Snow geese feed primarily on plant material found in shallow water or on land.

The snow goose, the decline has stopped

Outside of the nesting season, they usually feed in flocks. In winter, snow geese feed on grains left in the fields.

They migrate in large flocks, often visiting traditional resting habitats in spectacular numbers. The greater snow geese population was in decline in the early 20th century, but has now reached sustainable levels again. In North America, snow geese have so increased that Arctic tundra nesting areas and salt marsh wintering grounds are starting to degrade dangerously, harming other species living in the same habitats.

The smaller of the two subspecies, the lesser snow goose, lives from north-central Canada up to the Bering Strait area. It is commonly found in two types of plumage. White-type birds are white, except for black wingtips, but blue-type geese have bluish-grey plumage, replacing most of the white feathers, except those on the head, neck and toe.

of the queue. Birds of the white type and those of the blue type interbreed with each other and the young may be of either type. The largest subspecies, the greater snow goose, breeds in northeastern Canada. In this subspecies birds of the blue type are rare.