Geese & Ducks

Snow Goose

The Snow Goose reaches a height between 25 and 38 inches tall. The main coloring of the bird is all white, hence the name "Snow Goose". The wings have patches of black or brown on them. The Snow Goose usually migrates to Canada in large groups when they are breeding. The female Snow Goose usually does not give birth until they reach 2 or 3 years old. For food, the Snow Goose feeds on insects and plants. The Snow Goose has a thick bill that can easily pull plants out of the ground. The Snow Goose can be spotted around the Outer Banks during the months of January through March and also October through December.

"Blue Goose"

The Blue Goose stands between 25 and 38 inches tall. The blue color of the goose is referred to as a morph. It is one of two morphing colors of the goose. The Blue Goose is the blue colored version of the Snow Goose. Although it is called the Blue Goose, the color of the bird resembles a gray color. Blue Gooses lay their eggs in large colonies. Like other types of geese, the main food source of the Blue Goose is insects and plants. The Blue Goose is an uncommon visitor to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The best times of the year to try to get a glimpse of the Blue Goose is January through May and September through December.

Ross's Goose

Ross's Goose stands 24 inches tall. It is considered to be a smaller version of the Snow Goose. The Ross's Goose coloring is mostly white with black wingtips. Ross's Goose usually lives in salt or fresh water marshes. The Ross's Goose is considered to be a rare species and is monitored by the United States Wildlife Commission. The amount of Ross's Geese has increased over the last few years. For food, Ross's Geese eat insects and plants. The Ross's Goose is very rarely spotted along the Outer Banks.

Canada Goose

The Canada Goose stands between 25 and 43 inches tall. The Canada Goose is mostly gray in color with a black head and neck. It also has a white band around its chin. The look of the Canada Goose is completely different to any other type of goose found. Originally, the Canada Goose was not very commonly spotted in North Carolina, but over the years, the bird has adapted to the climate. The male Canada Goose can become very aggressive towards people and other animals that approach the female goose. They will make a hissing noise to chase unwelcome people away. For food, the Canada Goose eats plants, insects, and seeds. The Canada Goose is a year round inhabitant of the Outer Banks.


The Brant reaches a height of 30 inches tall. The coloring of the Brant is similar to the Canada Goose but it does not have the distinct white patch and its feathers are a darker color. The Brant can be found living in salt marshes. The Brant can be spotted flying in large flocks. The main source of food for Brants is a type of seaweed called sea lettuce. The Brant suffered a major decline in numbers when the original source of food, called eelgrass, was wiped out during the 1930's. Eelgrass has become more abundant and the number of Brant has increased. The Brant can be spotted living along the Outer Banks during the months of January through April and November and December.

Mute Swan

The Mute Swan is a large bird, ranging from 56 to 62 inches in length. The coloring of the feathers on the Mute Swan is white. The Mute Swan is one of the most commonly seen swans in the wild. The Mute Swan can be spotted living in wildlife parks during the summer, and during the winter months they can be spotted living near the water. Mute Swans usually nest by themselves. They can become aggressive towards humans during the breeding season and when somebody gets too close to their nest. There have been reports of people being attacked by Mute Swans. They are especially dangerous towards children, because a blow from a Mute Swan can injure a child. For food, Mute Swans mostly eat plants, but they also eat insects, frogs, and fish. A Mute Swan will stick its head under the water to catch their prey. The Mute Swan can be found along the Outer Banks all throughout the year, but it is very uncommon to spot one.

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Terms: The Birds of the Outer Banks: Geese & Ducks

The Birds of the Outer Banks;Geese & Ducks

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