White Fronted Geese of the Pacific Northwest
The White Fronted Geese are named for the bright white patch found at the base of bill. Both sexes are similar in appearance, but the males are a bit larger. The head, neck and upper back of white fronted geese are gray, while the lower back and rump are dark brown, the tail is dark brown with white edges.
The chest and breast are grayish with dark brown to black blotches and bars on the breast. The belly and upper and lower coverts are white. The bill is pink and the legs and feet are orange.
They can be found around the north pole in breeding distribution. The majority of white fronted geese in North America breed near the Arctic Circle and are found from Alaska right across the north to the eastern shores of Canada.
They nest on both tidal flats and upland areas, most frequently among tall grass and sedge’s bordering sloughs and marshes. The female white fronted geese will lay an up to 5 eggs. They are solitary breeders.
These geese migrate along the Pacific and Central flyways and winter in great numbers here.
Winter habitats include coastal marshes, wet meadows and freshwater marshes. They are common visitors to the coast and can be seen on most areas of the Island in the fall and winter.
There are two distinct populations of white fronted geese, the pacific population and the central flyway population, the pacific population has been increasing steadily for the last decade and that means more opportunities to view these fascinating birds.
They are grazers and feeds on marsh grasses, grain crops, tundra plants, aquatic plants and fresh plant growth in fields. They also eat berries, aquatic insects and their larvae.