Friday, July 18, 2014

Snow Geese

The site we are working on now is between two rivers and we are surrounded by pairs of snow geese.  The parents are molting and the babies can't fly so they spend the days walking up and down the river banks, feeding, and paddling in the water.  The pairs of adults tend to travel in proximity to each other, but they are very defensive if another adult wanders too close.  They charge, honk, and flap their wings to drive the interloper away.

I can't tell the males apart from the females, so I'm not sure if they take turns being on guard or if the same one is always on the lookout for wandering goslings or other snow geese that approach too closely.

The wings look particularly ragged as the geese molt.

The river mud gives some of the adults red heads.  At least, I hope its mud.  Polar bears, foxes, and ermines often have red snouts, too, but for completely different reasons.
Photo Credits: Tim Rast

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