Category Archives: Birds

“Blue” Goose

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Both Ross’s geese (Chen rossii) and snow geese (Chen caerulescens) exhibit “blue” morphs or color variants. The dark forms of these two Arctic white geese are very uncommon. After Leonard and I found a blue morph Ross’s goose earlier this … Continue reading

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Horned Lark in Winter

Populations of horned larks (Eremophila alpestris) that breed in northern North America move south to the United States during the winter. Other horned lark populations are year-round residents throughout most of the states. These brown birds with black and yellow … Continue reading

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Favorite Winter Visitor

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I cannot let winter pass without again mentioning one of my favorite cold-weather visitors, the rough-legged hawk (Buteo lagopus).  Soon this distinctive hawk with the white head and cape and feathered legs will head back to the far North. Rough-legged … Continue reading

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Feeding Lesser Goldfinch

Winters, particularly ones as severe as our winter was this year, are hard on birds. The deep snow can make food inaccessible, while the bitter cold increases energy requirements. During storms Leonard and I often find birds that are too … Continue reading

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Courting Barrow’s Goldeneyes

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The majority of Barrow’s goldeneyes (Bucephala islandica) breed in Northwestern North America. (Small populations also breed in Eastern Canada and Iceland.) These ducks move slightly south into the Pacific Northwest during the winter. Between December and April, Barrow’s goldeneyes form … Continue reading

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Snow or Ross’s Goose?

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The two white Arctic geese look very similar and are difficult to tell apart, particularly in single species flocks or as individuals. Both the snow goose (Chen caerulescens) and the Ross’s goose (Chen rossii) are white with black primaries (wing … Continue reading

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Blue Morph Ross’s Goose

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A rare blue morph of the Ross’s goose (Chen rossii) exists. The origin of this blue morph is uncertain. It might be due to hybridization with the snow goose blue morph (Chen caerulescens) or recurrent mutations of Ross’s goose genes controlling … Continue reading

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