Snow Geese

Hundreds of snow geese (Anser caerulescens) flew into the South Pond on Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge on a recent morning. The snow goose gets its name due to its white plumage. The classic snow goose is white with black wing tips. But did you know that there are snow geese that don’t look snowy? The dark morph or Blue Goose, is a genetic variation (see bottom photo).Blue geese were the inspiration for the symbol of the National Wildlife Refuge System, drawn by famous cartoonist J.N. "Ding" Darling. His 'blue goose' drawing can be found on the boundary signs of National Wildlife Refuges across the country! The blue goose color mutation is controlled by a single gene. Most blue geese are found in populations in the center of North America. On the Atlantic Coast, white geese far outnumber blue geese. Ross's geese, close relatives of snow geese, show a blue morph exceptionally rarely. Blue morph Ross's geese are thought to be the result of hybridization with blue morph show geese.Snow geese prefer feeding in water-logged or shallow water, eating underground plant parts.

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Wildlife refuges
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