Snow Goose  (Oie des neiges)

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Chen caerulescens

 (No high quality local photo available yet for this species.) 


General Notes

Though the Snow Goose is the most abundant goose in the world, it nests in relatively few sites in persistent colonies, the largest being in the Canadian Arctic archipelago and on Wrangal Island. In Ontario, Snow Goose nesting is confined to the strip of tundra along the Hudson Bay and northern James Bay coasts, typically on the open tundra near ponds, creeks, or river deltas and within 10km of the coast.  It is only the Lesser Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens caerulescens) that breeds in Ontario. There are two common colour morphs, a dark morph, which is often called the blue morph, and a white morph. A complete range of intermediate forms occur between white and dark morph.

Although not on the main spring migration pathway, which is mostly west of us up the Mississippi Flyway, through south-central Manitoba, and then swinging northeast to James Bay, some Snow Geese are nevertheless seen in Timiskaming in most years during spring migration. The timing of the spring migration is quite variable depending on weather conditions and the progression of the spring thaw. Flight is usually non-stop between staging areas, but inclement weather may cause short reverse migrations, so small flocks are occasionally seen on inland lakes, ponds and marshes.  Fall migrations typically see larger numbers of Snow Geese passing through Timiskaming, usually in late October and often in the company of Canada Geese. 

The population of Snow Goose appears to have been increasing over the latter half of the twentieth century, but the populations seemed to have stabilized somewhat since 2000, probably due to population management efforts in the mid-continent migration and wintering areas and self-induced habitat deterioration on the breeding range.

Abundance: Uncommon Earliest observed:

Typical spring arrival:

Mar. 20

Typical fall arrival:

Oct. 1
Breeding Status: Migrant Latest observed:

Typical spring departure:

May 18

Typical fall departure:

Nov. 16

Documented Observations