Ross’s Goose looks like a miniature, small-billed version of a Snow Goose. Look carefully for them, as huge flocks of Snow Geese often contain a few Ross's Geese. Ross’s Goose has a petite rounded head and a stout, shorter bill without the dark “grinning patch.” They also have a dainty personality, carefully plucking grass rather than rooting in mud, so they lack the rusty staining you often see on Snow Goose faces. Tundra Swan, Trumpeter Swan, and Mute Swan are much larger, with longer necks, and lack the Snow Goose's black wingtips. Trumpeter Swans and Tundra Swans have dark bills and feet and Mute Swan has a bulbous orange bill. You may also see all-white domestic geese and ducks, but these typically have orange bills and feet, lack the black wing feathers, and have shape differences such as heavy bottoms and an ungainly waddle.
Find This Bird
Look for Snow Geese in open fields and bodies of water in their wintering grounds across the United States, or passing high overhead during migration. During spring and fall migration, the geese will stop over in open habitats along the four major North American flyways. If the geese are around, they’ll be hard to miss: a cacophony of honks accompanying a huge flock either on the ground or in the air.