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2011-11-21
George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary - Winter home of the Lesser Snow Goose.


The Snow Goose - Chen caerulescens - also known as the Blue Goose, or the Lesser Snow Goose is a North American species of goose.

Description

It has two color plumage morphs, white or gray/blue. White-morph birds are white except for black wing tips, but blue-morph geese have bluish-grey plumage replacing the white except on the head, neck and tail tip. Both snow and blue phases have rose-red feet and legs, and pink bills. The head can be stained rusty-brown from minerals in the soil where they feed.

Call

They are very vocal and can often be heard from more than a mile away.

Food

Marsh plants, Sedges, Corn, Rice and Pasture Grasses.

Breeding

Lesser Snow Geese generally mate for life. Long-term pair bonds are usually formed in the second year, although breeding does not usually start until the third year. Females will return to the place they hatched to breed. Snow Geese often nest in colonies. Nesting usually begins at the end of May or during the first few days of June, depending on snow conditions. The female selects a nest site and builds the nest on an area of high ground. The nest is a shallow depression lined with plant material and may be reused from year to year. After the female lays the first of 3 to 5 eggs, she lines the nest with down. The female incubates for 22 to 25 days, and the young leave the nest within a few hours of hatching. The young feed themselves, but are protected by both parents. After 42 to 50 days they can fly, but they remain with their family until they are 2 to 3 years old.

Birdwatching

These beautiful Geese can be seen at the George C. Reifel  Migratory Bird Sanctuary is one of Canada's top bird-watching sites, one hour's drive from the City of Vancouver, British Columbia.


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