Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



Nebraska Bird Review (September 2004) 72(3).


Copyright 2004, Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. Used by permission.


Recently, Mr. William Lemburg of Cairo, Nebraska, in a letter to the Editor of the Nebraska Bird Review, noted the following: "I have a friend who does quite a bit of goose hunting. He remarked to me that during the spring snow goose season, he occasionally shoots an extra-large Snow. Thinking that maybe a few Greater Snows that winter along the Atlantic Coast may end up in the Central Flyway, I asked him to save the head of one if he bagged one the following season. This is about five years ago. The following season he did get one. Enclosed is a picture showing it with the head of a Lesser Snow and a Ross's Goose. Even though the head was dried some, the bill measured 65 mm. According to the book by Bellrose Ducks, Geese, and Swans of North America, this would place it with the Greater Snow."

Measurements of bills (culmen) of Snow Geese in Palmer (1976) show for male Greaters 59-73 mm, female Greaters 57-68 mm, male Lessers 52-63 mm, female Lessers 50-60 mm. Thus it seems likely this bird was indeed a Greater Snow Goose (Gilles Gauthier, personal communication); Palmer states that bill measurements are diagnostic.