Subject: Snow goose at Montlake Fill
Date: Jan 8 05:36:52 2000
From: Lydia - lgaebe at


Some of those geese you describe sound like feral domestic geese! Goose #4
& #5 goose sound just like the ones that hang out at the golf course near
where I live. These feral geese come from two different domestic breeds,
names I don't recall - but one breed has a knobby bill and the other,
descended from the European Graylag has a smooth bill. These ferals will
come in all colors and patterns and the white ones will often excite us
birders until we get closer looks, and realize they aren't Snow or Ross!
Some of the feral geese appear to be crosses of the two breeds with varied
knobs or not.

I've seen many hybrid Canada geese and they've all seemed to favor the
Canada Goose side of their parentage. They are bigger boned than Canadas
and have large, but indistinct cheek patches as well as pinkish gray feet
and some have dark orange bills. Their plumage is often strikingly
beautiful showing all colors including white to almost black.

Perhaps one of the other Tweets can tell you if these hybrids are fertile.
A feeble memory says they aren't.

Lydia In Kent

----- Original Message -----
From: "John & Anne Winskie" <winskie at>
To: <tweeters at>
Sent: Thursday, January 06, 2000 5:41 PM
Subject: RE: Snow goose at Montlake Fill

> Hi, Elinor & Tweeters!
> I was at Montlake Fill on Sunday, Jan. 2, from about 2-4 PM. I
> encountered 5 "non-Canada" geese, mostly in the Southwest corner of the
> Fill.
> 1. I saw one bird that fit the description of an immature Snow Goose
> very well. I first saw it flying with a flock of Canada Geese that
> circled the Fill several times before landing on the grass. Later the
> group moved to the larger pond. This bird had dark wing tips, was
> smaller than the Canada's, and had the right body proportions and
> plumage to be a Snow Goose.
> 2. and 3. In the area just to the East of the footbridge, I saw 2 adult
> white geese feeding with a flock of Canada Geese.. Both had pink bills
> & legs. However, the bills seemed to be solid pink, with no black
> "grin" mark.
> a. One had small black "smudges" located symmetrically on either side
> of its neck. When it flew, it did NOT have black wing tips.
> b. The other goose appeared to be all white. I did not see it fly,
> but I saw no evidence of black primaries.
> These geese didn't fit the adult Snow Goose description, but they
> didn't look like domestic geese, either. Any suggestions?
> 4. With the same group of geese to the East of the footbridge there was
> a goose that appeared to be a Canada hybrid or a Canada with some
> plumage variations. It looked very much like a Canada on the back, but
> its belly and the front of its neck were almost completely white, except
> for a dark band.
> 5. Not far away, in a lagoon just South of the loop trail, there was
> another unusual goose, hanging out with a Canada who had a numbered neck
> band (? 271). My first impression was of a Greater White-Fronted
> Goose: a mostly charcoal-gray goose. However, instead of just having a
> white patch by the bill, this bird's head was mostly white, gradually
> tapering to gray on the back of the neck. A few of the feathers on the
> rear of the back that fold over the primaries had white edges. I don't
> clearly remember bill & leg color; I think they were dark. Another
> hybrid? I'd be interested to know if anyone else has seen this goose.
> I hope this helps give some clues; obviously, I should have taken
> detailed field notes!
> Best, Anne Winskie
> --
> John & Anne Winskie
> Winskie Services
> mailto:winskie at
> Edmonds, WA 98020