The most commonly found geese inIllinois include the Canada goose (above), snow goose"blue" phase (below left) and the greater white-frontedgoose (below right).

Canada, not Canadian, geese are widespread. Snow geese have two color phases: white with black wing tips and a "blue" phase (right) with a white head and dark body. Greater white-fronted geese have orange bills, a white disk on the face and dark streaking underneath. The much less common Ross' goose is a smaller version of a snow goose and is usually found in flocks of snow geese.  

More facts about Illinois geese

Canada geese feed on waste grain, weed and grass seeds. They have actually benefited from modern agricultural practices and are more numerous than ever.

Greater white-fronted geese normally migrate to the west of the Mississippi River, but sometimes, flocks pass through Illinois. Hunters call them "Speckled Bellies."

Snow geese breed in the arctic tundra. Those passing through Illinois are likely from the Hudson Bay. Their migration path is elliptical in shape, meaning that fall migrants pass to the west, while more geese return through Illinois in the spring.

Flocks of snow geese usually contain white and blue phases. Blue-phased geese generally outnumber the white-phased.

photographs by Chris Young and Dennis Oehmke (snow goose)
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