American Game Birds

Illustrating More Than One Hundred Species In Natural Colors

By Chester A. Reed

Page 22

ROSS GOOSE (Chen rossi). This is by far the smallest of our geese, measuring but 21 in. in length, about the same size as the Mallard. The greatest difference between this species and Snow Geese, besides size, lies in the bill, which has less prominent teeth, little or no black along the open sides and which is studded about the base with numerous little carunculations. The breeding grounds are unknown, but are supposed to be north of Mackenzie. It is regarded as quite a rare bird, but sometimes appears in considerable numbers in California during winter.


EMPEROR GOOSE (Philacte canagica). We have not figured this species since it is found in such a restricted and little visited area, it occurring only on the Alaskan coast chiefly north of the Aleutian Islands. It is a handsome species, the sexes as usual being alike in plumage. The white head is relieved by a black throat which shades into the bluish, slate-colored body, each feather of which is edged with black and white so as to produce a very scaly effect.


WHITE-FRONTED GEESE (Anser albifrons gambeli). In the interior and western portions of America this is one of the most abundant species of geese, but on the Atlantic seaboard they are only of casual occurrence. They breed near the Arctic coast, west of Hudson Bay, and pass the winter months in the lower Mississippi Valley and on the Pacific coast.

     White-fronted Geese are very noisy, their loud and continued cackling being responsible for their being known quite commonly as "Laughing Geese." They are less often called "Pied Brant." When young birds first arrive from the north, they are not timid, and many are killed, but they soon become very shy and difficult to approach. When feeding, they post sentinels to warn the rest of the flock of approaching danger. Most of them are secured by hunters who ambush them on the way to and from their feeding grounds. Their mode of flight is a V-shaped formation, the bird at the apex leading the way until tired and then falling back to the end of the line and allowing a new leader to break the wind.