Tag Archives: snow goose Massachusetts

RARE BIRD ALERT: SNOW GOOSE ON CAPE ANN!

SSnow Goose in the Sea Smoke

Early this morning while out filming Cape Ann Lighthouses in the sea smoke, far off shore there was a Snow Goose bobbing about in the frigid waters.

Look for Snow Geese on the shore and in the water. Their feathers are white, tipped black at the outer edges, with a gray band above the black tips. Both their bills and feet are pink. There is also a dark morph, commonly referred to as the ‘Blue Goose.’

Thanks to Lyn Fonzo who last week sent a snapshot of a white goose feeding amongst the Canada Geese. She was wondering what bird. I thought it was a juvenile Snow Goose and the sighting today confirms that yes, we have (at least) one Snow Goose on our shores!

CAPE ANN LIGHTHOUSES SHROUDED IN SEA SMOKE

Evocative views looking through sea smoke along the shoreline this morning, from Ten Pound Island to Twin Lights, and at every vantage point along the way. On my very last stop photographing a buoy in the sea smoke, I spied a mystery bird far off shore. Bobbing in the water and with a bill not at all shaped liked a seagulls, it was a SNOW GOOSE! He was too far away to get a great photo, but wonderful to see nonetheless!

Do Birds Have Teeth?

Snow Goose teeth tomia Gloucester Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015Snow Goose Beak and Tomia

If I had thought about the answer to that question when I was five, I would have said yes, most definitely. At that time, our family was living on a lake in north central Florida. A friend’s unruly pet goose chased me home, nipping my bottom all the way to our front stoop!

The jagged points in the serrated-edge jaw of the Snow Goose are not called teeth because teeth are defined as having an enamel coating. There is a special word for the points and they are called tomia. During the Mesozoic era birds had teeth. Over time, birds developed specialized beaks suited to their diets. Bird beaks do the job teeth and lips once did. The Snow Goose’s tomia are not as tough as teeth but are perfectly suited to slicing through slippery grass.

The super graphic below, found on wiki, illustrates types of beaks and how the different shapes relate to the bird’s diet and foraging habits.

Wiki Bird Beak Graphic copy

GORGEOUS JUVENILE SNOW GOOSE IN GLOUCESTER!

Snow Goose Juvenile Gloucester Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015Many thanks to Michelle Barton for spotting the Snow Goose at Good Harbor Beach. Michelle has a superb eye for identifying rare and unusual birds that are migrating through our region. It was she who first alerted us to the Snowy Owl in our neighborhood this past January.

Snow Goose Juvenile Gloucester Massachusetts Cnadian Geese ©Kim Smith 2015Snow Goose Juvenile Canadina Geese Gloucester Massachusetts Essex County  ©Kim Smith 2015The juvenile Snow Goose and flock of Canadian Geese are foraging for grasses along the water’s edge. They yank and tug vigorously at the sea grass roots until dislodging.

Snow Goose Gloucester Massachusetts Essex County Teeth Tomia ©Kim Smith 2015 copySnow Geese mate for life, breeding during the summer months in the Arctic Tundra. Their annual journey  from summer breeding grounds to winter home is a roundtrip of more than 5,000 miles, and they are oftentimes traveling at speeds of up to 50mph! There are four migratory corridors, or flyways, in North America. From west to east, they are the Pacific, Central, Mississippi, and Atlantic. Gloucester is a special place where we are centrally located in the Atlantic flyway.

Snow Goose Good Harbor Beach Gloucester Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015Thanks so much again Michelle for the Snow Goose alert!

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