Utah Field Guide – Snow Goose

The snow goose is a medium-sized goose that breeds on the arctic tundra and winters in the American south. The Snow Goose migrate in very large, high-flying, noisy flocks. The swirling white of a descending flock suggests snow, but among the white birds are darker individuals called blue geese. These birds were once thought to be two separate species, but they have recently been found to be merely two different color morphs of the same bird.

The Snow Goose is the most abundant of the world’s wild geese. These attractive geese occur only in North America, and make an annual round trip journey of more than 5,000 miles at speeds of 50 mph or more.

Parents stay with their young through the first winter. Families travel together on both the southbound and northbound migrations, separating only after they return to the arctic breeding grounds.

Although many snow geese will stop at rest areas, some geese will make the entire migration, in one continuous flight. Some have even been known to fly as long 70 hours and 1,700 miles. For more information on the snow goose or any other critter found in Utah, check out our Utah Field guide on the web at ksltv.com.

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