Saturday, February 24, 2018

North American Ross's Geese Habitats From Canada Southward into Mexico

Summary: North American Ross's geese habitats need breeding grounds in Arctic Canada and migration routes and wintering grounds into and beyond the United States.

Ross's goose in Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary, West Alton, St. Charles County, east central Missouri; March 17, 2017: Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren (Wildreturn), CC BY 2.0, via Flickr

Seventy-five members of Ross's goose and snow goose overwintering populations are dead and their bodies abandoned in Missouri, one of North American Ross's geese habitats, according to online sources Feb. 20-21, 2018.
Ross's geese bear their common name as namesake members of the Anserinae subfamily with larger, longer-necked swans and the Anatidae duck, goose and swan waterfowl family. The same-meaninged scientific name Anser rossii commemorates Bernard Rogan Ross (Sep. 25, 1827-June 21, 1874), Hudson's Bay Company factor at Fort Resolution, Northwest Territories, Canada, 1843-1871. Scientific designations defer to descriptions in 1861 by John Cassin (Sep. 6, 1816-Jan. 10, 1869), unpaid curator of Pennsylvania's Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences from 1842.
Ross's goose life cycles expect breeding grounds in northern and northeast coastal Nunavut and southern coastal Baffin Island and wintering grounds in fields, grasslands and wetlands.

June through August function in 21-year Ross's goose life cycles as nesting season months at High Arctic tundra colonies with lesser snow geese (Anser caerulescens caerulescens).
Ross's geese get together in family flocks to graze on grasses, sedges and small grains and go northward and southward along midwestern and western migration routes. They have one 3 to 5-egg yearly brood in plant-lined ground nests along Hudson Bay islands and in Arctic Canada's Queen Maud Gulf Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Ross's goose life cycles involve lifetime-mated, monogamous females and males in extended, multi-generational family flocks that inhabit the same breeding and nonbreeding homelands year after year.
North American Ross's geese habitats juggle rare short-necked blue forms with dark-patched bills and white immature and mature forms with furrowed necks and short triangular bills.

Immature Ross's geese know brown little eyes with dusky lines, dark short triangular bills, dark wing tips, gray-washed white upperparts, light gray crowns and short necks.
Mature blue forms look blue-gray basally along pink-red bills, brown in eyes and upper-parts, pink-red in web-footed legs and white in head, neck, rump and tail. Mature white forms manifest black wing tips, brown little eyes, pink-red bills with blue-gray warts, pink-red web-footed legs, round head and white neck, underparts and upper-parts. Agro-industrialists, bald eagles, bears, collectors, coyotes, foxes, gulls, hunters, jaegers and wolves versus rough-legged hawks and snowy owls respectively number among Ross's geese predators and protectors.
North American Ross's geese habitats offer season's coldest temperature ranges, northward to southward, from minus 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 51.11 to 18.33 degrees Celsius).

Wintering grounds in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas and Mexico promote Ross's goose life cycles.
Ross's geese queue up among less aquatic, more terrestrial of waterfowl even though their direct flight patterns with rapid wing beats qualify them as strong fliers. Adults reveal 44.79- to 66.32-ounce (1,224- to 1,880-gram), 45.28- to 51.18-inch (115- to 130-centimeter) and 20.87- to 25.98-inch (53- to 66-centimeter) weights, wingspans and head-body lengths. They sound harsh when flying and growling kork or kowk, high-pitched when cackling keek-keek-keeek, loud when calling uuggh-uuggh-uuggh, quiet when feeding and sad when whispering uuuhhhh.
Who in Cass County terminated 75 Ross's and snow geese whose extended families travel between North American Ross's geese habitats and North American snow geese habitats?

Northern portion of west central Missouri's Cass County is the site of an incident of dumping 75 dead geese, including Ross's geese; photo by Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC): Missouri Dept. of Conservation @moconservation via Facebook Feb.20, 2018

My special thanks to talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the internet.

Image credits:
Ross's goose in Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary, West Alton, St. Charles County, east central Missouri; March 17, 2017: Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren (Wildreturn), CC BY 2.0, via Flickr @
photo by Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC): Missouri Dept. of Conservation @moconservation via Facebook Feb. 20, 2018, @

For further information:
Bowsfield, Hartwell. "Ross, Bernard Rogan." Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. X (1871-1880). Toronto and Quebec City, Canada: University of Toronto/Université Laval, 1972.
Available @
Cassin, J. (John). "Communication in Reference to a New Species of Goose From Arctic America: 3. Anser rossii Baird." Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, vol. 13 (1861): 73. Philadelphia PA: Academy of Natural Sciences, 1862.
Available via Biodiversity Heritage Library @
Peterson, Alan P., M.D. "Anser rossii Cassin 1861." Zoonomen: Zoological Nomenclature Resource > Birds of the World -- Current Valid Scientific Avian Names > Anseriformes > Anatidae > Anser.
Available @
Vuilleumier, François, Editor-in-Chief. American Museum of Natural History Birds of North America. New York NY: DK Publishing, 2016.

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