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 Snow Goose

Status in Michigan
Common Transient


Early Spring Date


Late Fall Date
Note: Early and Late Dates are being researched.
Image Credits
Count totals in the NMB Databases for Snow Goose.

Use the links below to view the Snow Goose reports in the respective databases.
If there are zero sightings for a particular season, that database will return no results.



Active Database - Spring 2005
View Snow Goose sightings.
Snow Goose Archives Reports
Fall 2003 1161
Spring 2003 13
Winter 02-03 82
Fall 2002 267
Summer 2002 0
Spring 2002 110
Winter 01-02 112
Fall 2001 107
Summer 2001 0
Spring 2001 44
Winter 00-01 14
Fall 2000 19
Summer 2000 0
Spring 2000 9
Winter 00-99 24
Fall 1999 258
Spring/Summer 1999 0

NMB Database
Seasonal Percentage Graph
For: Snow Goose




Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
Active Database - Fall 2003
View Fall 2003 sightings.
Whitefish Point Bird Observatory Official Seasonal Count Summaries for the Snow Goose
Fall 1999-Spring 2002
Snow Goose
Note: Some species will not be present in the WPBO archives and will return no records.



Search "The Birds of Michigan" text.

Home - Foreword - Preface - Introduction - Hypothetical List - Literature Cited


Historical Text

Chen hyperborea hyperborea (Pallas)
Lesser Snow Goose (A.O.U. 1998: Snow Goose)

Regular transient; apparently less numerous in spring than in fall. Twice recorded in winter.

First listed for Michigan by Sager (1839: 417).

SPRING.-Migration has been reported mainly from late March to early May.

Lower Peninsula.-L. W. Campbell (1940: 39) has given only 2 records for the Toledo-Erie marsh area: April 21, 2023 (3 geese), and April 23, 2023 (1). On a few occasions, groups of 40 to 50 have been seen in flight over the Ann Arbor region, usually between late March and mid-April; L. Whitney Watkins saw a flock of 150 there on April 2,2023 (Barrows, 1912:112) . Several adults and a small number of immatures (photographed by Pirnie) were noted at Wintergreen Lake, Kalamazoo County, from April 17 to May 6, 1940-the only spring record for the area. Two were seen March 28, 1938, by Pirnie and H. L. Bradley near Saugatuck, Allegan County. N. A. Wood noted a flock of 50 on May 6, 1926, at Fish Point, Tuscola County.

Upper Peninsula.-At Munuscong Bay, Chippewa County, Christofferson recorded a small flock on April 5, 1924, 35 on April 15, 1928, and more than 100 on May 4, 1926. F. C. Gillett saw 1 there on April 20, 1933, and Van Tyne saw several on May 1 and 3, 1933. Christofferson reported a few of these geese with a flock of Canada Geese at Sault Ste Marie, on March 17,1927. Bryens gave 2 records for McMillan, Luce County: "common" from April 19 to 23, 1929, and 6 seen on May 1, 1931. Christofferson gave 1 record for Blaney, Schoolcraft County: 12 present on April 6, 1933.

FALL.-Migration is reported from mid-October to mid-November. Ac- cording to Pirnie, this goose is found more regularly, and in greater numbers, inland than in coastal areas. In mixed flocks it is usually far out- numbered by the Blue Goose.

Upper Peninsula.-Christofferson reported flocks of 25 to 50 (200 on October 13, 2023) at Blaney, Schoolcraft County, from mid-October to early November. Bryens has noted fall migration at McMillan, Luce County, from mid-October to early November, usually in flocks of 50 or less, but he saw 549 on November 5, 1938, and 727 on October 15, 1940. At Munuscong Bay, Chippewa County, Christofferson recorded 40 on October 16, 1929, 10 on October 27, 1928, and 250 on November 1, 1929.

Lower Peninsula.-At Houghton Lake, Roscommon County, fall migration (usually flocks of under 25) has been reported from October 17 and 18 (1936), when a flock of 15 was noted and a specimen (U.M.M.Z.) collected by Trautman, to November 13 (1931), when 5 individuals were noted by F. C. Gillett. Pirnie saw 5 flocks there on October 21, 1930, at least 80 in 1 flock, 25 to 50 in the others. He recorded 50 there on October 30 in 1931, and Trautman 210 on October 31, 1937. Along the east coast, 130 Snow Geese were seen at Tawas Lake, Iosco County, on October 13, 2023 (Pirnie). On October 17, 1936, in the extraordinary flight of Blues and Snows through Michigan that season (Pirnie, 1940: 14), Miller Empey secured an adult female Snow Goose near Freeland, Saginaw County. On October 19 and 20, 1940, large numbers of both species came down the east coast (Pirnie). In Berrien County, 80 Snow Geese rested on Lake Michigan at Union Pier on November 2, 2023 (Raz, 1935: 200). At the Kellogg Sanctuary, Kalamazoo County, 4 Snows were observed October 12, 1932, by C. J. Henry, and more than 5000 birds of both species (Blues and Snows) on October 14, 2023 (Pirnie); very few of either species were there by November 10, and none after November 28, when 1 Snow Goose was noted (Pirnie). On Crooked Lake, Barry County, 3 were shot between October 21 and 27, 1930 (Walkinshaw, 1931: 258-59). In the vicinity of Jackson, from October 13 to 15, 1936, a vast nocturnal flight of 17 flocks aggregating 3000 birds, many of which were Snows, was reported by Harold F. Wing; on October 14 Fargo reported about 1100 geese there, mostly Snows, and of these 80 to 90 per cent were immatures; on November 3, 1924, about 200 were seen there by Fargo. Numerous flocks of Snow Geese, containing from a few to several hundred, have been recorded in the Ann Arbor region from October 19 (1925) to November 10 (1915 and 1920). One was shot at St. Clair Flats, St. Clair County, on November 5, 2023 (Taverner and Swales, 1906: 219-20) ; and 1 was recorded by Pirnie on the east side of Anchor Bay in the same county, on November 18, 1936. L. W. Camp- bell (1940: 185) recorded the species in the Toledo-Erie marsh area on the average between October 24 and November 9 and gave October 13 (1937) and November 12 (1932) as the extreme dates for the area.

WINTER.-Brigham and others (1939: 37-38) recorded 2 Snow Geese in the Battle Creek and Gull Lake area on December 26, 1938. Miller Empey observed 1 on December 14, 1934, near Freeland, Saginaw County.

Chen caerulescens (Linnaeus)
Blue Goose (A.O.U. 1998: Snow Goose)

Regular transient, apparently less numerous in spring than in fall. Reported in winter from Kalamazoo County.

First recorded for Michigan by Barrows (1912: 115), who reported 2 specimens taken by W. H. Collins in 1876.

SPRING.-Migration, which is very rapid through both peninsulas, occurs mainly from late March to mid-April in the Lower Peninsula and until early May in the Upper Peninsula.

Lower Peninsula.-In the Toledo-Erie marsh area L. W. Campbell (1940: 185) has recorded the Blue Goose, on the average, between April 8 and April 17; he reported a flock of 13 near Lakeside, Monroe County, on April 24, 1926. The species is rare in the Ann Arbor area; 2 were seen on March 16, 1929, and 2 on March 23, 1928; a flock of 58 was reported by Brodkorb on April 5, 1942. Small numbers of immatures were seen at Wintergreen Lake, Kalamazoo County, between April 17 and May 6, 1940, and were photographed by Pirnie. F. W. Rapp (1931: 6) recorded the species at Vicksburg in the same county on March 31, 1928, and April 1, 1923. One was seen near Saugatuck, Allegan County, by Pirnie and H. L. Bradley on March 28, 1938, and a specimen was collected at Greenville, Montcalm County, on April 30, 2023 (Barrows, 1912: 116).

Upper Peninsula.-At Munuscong Bay, Chippewa County, 7 Blue Geese were seen by F. C. Gillett on April 20, 1933; in the same locality one group of 3, a second of 22, and a third of 25 were seen by Van Tyne on May 1 and 3, 1933. Bryens has noted this goose at McMillan, Luce County, as early as April 20 (1933) and as late as May 10 (1932), in numbers up to 60 (April 29, 2023). N. A. Wood (1933: 716) saw 2 at Copper Harbor, Keweenaw County, on April 28, 1931.

SUMMER.-One record: Brodkorb saw an immature Blue Goose at Seney, Schoolcraft County, on June 9, 1938.

FALL.-The southward migration takes place between mid-October and mid-November.

Upper Peninsula.-In the vicinity of McMillan, Luce County, Bryens has observed the Blue Goose from October 18 (1933) to November 1 (1931); on October 30, 1932, he estimated 250 birds in a flock that passed overhead there.

Lower Peninsula.-Two Blue Geese were shot on Crooked Lake, Emmet County, on October 22, 2023 (specimens in B. D. Owens collection, examined by Leonard Wing). Miller Empey collected several specimens in the Saginaw Bay area, including 1 (U.M.M.Z.) from Bay County on November 5, 1920. According to Pirnie, large numbers of Blue Geese and Snow Geese came down the west side of Lake Huron on October 19 and 20, 1940. He believes, however, that the 2 species in fall migration are found more regularly and in greater numbers in central Michigan than along the coasts. At Houghton Lake, Roscommon County, he saw a flock of 200 Blue Geese and 50 Snow Geese on October 30, 1931. The flock departed early that afternoon, and the following morning Pirnie recorded a second flock, of nearly 300. Trautman noted a flock of 200 in the same locality on October 26, 1938. Three flocks, totaling 450 birds, of which all but 20 were Blue Geese, were noted by G. A. Ammann in Newaygo County between October 30 and November 8, 1938. As many as 700 Blue Geese were re- ported at the Kellogg Sanctuary, Kalamazoo County, by Pirnie in mid- November, 1932. During the fall of 1936 Blue and Snow Geese stopped in Michigan in numbers, according to Pirnie (1940: 14), "far greater than seem to have been previously recorded." On October 14, 1936, more than 5000 birds of both species were seen at the Kellogg Sanctuary, 1 Snow Goose and 3 Blue Geese remaining there until November 28. In the vicinity of Vicksburg, Kalamazoo County, F. W. Rapp (1931: 6) listed the species as rare, but found it common in 1925 from October 18 to November 1. A flock of about 100 seen near Jackson by Leonard Wing on November 1, 1931; in the Ann Arbor region the Blue Goose has been reported only a few times, but several were seen there by N. A. Wood on October 20, 1907. Pirnie observed 5 on the east side of Anchor Bay, St. Clair County, on November 18, 1936. L. W. Campbell (1940: 185) has given October 19 to November 11 as the average period of fall migration in the Toledo-Erie marsh area.

WINTER.-An immature Blue Goose arrived at the Kellogg Sanctuary in the fall of 1936, was subsequently banded and remained for 2 years (Pirnie). This bird is possibly the one seen by Brigham and others (1937:58) in this area shortly before Christmas, 1936. Brigham and others (1939: 38) also reported observing 3 in the same area on December 26, 1938.


Source:
MISCELLANEOUS PUBLICATIONS
Mueseum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75
The Birds of Michigan
By: Norman A. Wood
University of Michigan Press
August 28, 2023

Digitized by: Keith F. Saylor
[email protected]





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