Snow Goose!

Posted: Dec. 30, 2014


This morning we posted a pic of a Red-tailed Hawk. This afternoon – in almost the exact same location – we found this Snow Goose.

Saying “this” Snow Goose is an unusual thing. They like to travel in groups, from a dozen to hundreds of thousands. But then, that might explain why this one is here, in Norwell, near Jacobs Pond. Massachusetts is generally outside of the migratory route of the easternmost flocks of North American Snow Geese. This bird somehow became separated from the rest of its flock. Instead, it found something similar, a flock of several dozen Canada Geese, and has mixed in with them.

If you’re wondering how to identify it, well, it’s white, that’s for sure, but they do have a dark morph as well, called the “Blue Goose.” The legs and bill are pink, with a little black button of an eye. The wingtips are black, which give it the appearance of a black tail when standing in a field (its favorite habitat) or sitting on a pond or lake. And look for the black “grin” patch on the bill.

Where to from here? It might spend the winter, if injured, disoriented or if it finds suitable enough food and habitat. Then again, it may fly south, to, say, the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia, or coastal North Carolina. Then, in spring, it’ll head for the Arctic, where it breeds.

For any local pond in eastern Massachusetts, this is a nice find. It’s not the rarest of birds, but it certainly stands out!