Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Snow Goose Takes up Residence at White Rock Lake

The Snow Goose below, nicknamed the Lone Ranger, has been visiting White Rock Lake for quite some time. It’s always alone and is often seen walking along the shore, pecking at food. Snow Geese breed in the Arctic Tundra, so visitors to the lake should consider themselves fortunate to have this straggler visit for so long.

Snow Goose at White Rock Lake, Dallas, Texas
Snow Goose patrolling the eastern shore of White
Rock Lake in Dallas.

Snow geese are known for their white plumage, but many of them have a darker plumage, and these birds are known as Blue Geese. A single gene controls the color difference between the birds.

There is also a Blue Goose resident at White Rock Lake, located in east Dallas. These darker birds were considered a separate species, but are now believed to be a dark form (a morph) of the Snow Goose.

The Blue Goose below was seen eating on shore at Sunset Bay. The Snow Goose diet is entirely vegetarian and consists of grasses and grains.

Blue Goose at Sunset Bay, White Rock Lake, Dallas, Texas
Blue Goose with bands feeding at Sunset Bay, White Rock Lake.

You will notice from the image that the goose is wearing two bands (rings). He was banded in Manitoba, Canada in 2003. He injured a wing when he became entangled with some fishing line at White Rock Lake and is now unfortunately unable to fly.

Snow geese are excellent parents. They stay with their young through the first winter and travel together as a family on both the southbound and northbound migrations. The offspring only separate from their parents after they return to the Arctic breeding grounds.


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