Snow Goose

(Anser caerulescens)


Animal Info

The Zoo is home to one snow goose, which can be found in the pond along the Genesee Trail.

Status in the Wild

International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List status: Least Concern. The snow goose is protected under the United States Migratory Bird Act. The population is increasing at an estimated rate of 130,000 birds per year, possibly due to warming conditions in the Arctic breeding grounds. Periodic hunting has been established to help curb the growing population. About 400,000 birds are now hunted annually in the U.S. and Canada.


They have quite an expansive geographical range. In March, they head North over the New England states, resting in the St. Lawrence River area. They then continue northward over central Quebec, Canada to their destination in the northeast Arctic. The breeding grounds cover the area from northern Baffin Island, Bathurst Island, Ellesmere Island and northwest Greenland. The southwest coast of Bylot is the location of the main nesting colony. Their main wintering grounds are along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Texas between the Mississippi delta and Corpus Christi, Texas. However, in recent years colonies have been seen in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Iowa. Smaller numbers are found in eastern Mexico and southern New Mexico.


Snow geese are herbivores and eat roots, leaves, grasses and sedges. They have strong bills for digging up roots in thick mud. Their most common food source in their northern breeding grounds is American bulrush.

Did you know?

They are strong fliers, walkers and swimmers. They forage on foot and sleep while standing on one leg.

Within three weeks of hatching, goslings may walk up to 50 miles with their parents from the nest to an area more suitable for brood rearing.

Snow geese are possibly the noisiest of all waterfowl. Their main call, made by both males and females,is a nasal, one-syllable honk given at any hour of the day or night, at any time of year, in the air or on the ground.

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