Amy,

Look at your field guide and note these differences for i.d.:

1.  Ross's Goose is 10% smaller than Snow Goose.  Doesn't sound like much, but is definitely distinguishable when they are nearby.
2.  Ross's Goose has a rounder head
3.  Ross's Goose does not have the black "grin" mark on the bill  (hence the "sweeter" face look often spoken of
4.  Ross's Goose's bill is stubbier and steeper--equivalent of a "pug nose" compared with the Snow bill (another part of that "sweet" look).

Also:
When in a feeding flock, the Ross's are often in a small group together, often on the fringes of the main flock.

When among Snows in a flying formation, the Ross's often have trouble keeping up.  This translates to:
They must flap wings more often (smaller)
They may not be evenly spaced in the line (trying hard to keep up, but not quite able)
They are often at the end of the line (can't keep up)

 
On Nov 14, 2011, at 6:25 PM, Amy wrote:

I could use some tips on distinguishing snow geese from Ross's geese. I currently don't have either on my life list even though I saw flocks of one or the other or both last year. 

Amy J. Hoffman
JC
Cole County

On Nov 14, 2011, at 4:17 PM, Pat Lueders <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

We saw 150 Snow Geese this morning with at least 2 Ross' Geese in the flock.  A small flock of 4 Greater White-fronted Geese also flew by.  They were a few miles south of the Crown Winery near St. Genevieve, MO.   In the same area we saw 5 Black Vultures. 
 
Pat Lueders, Webster Groves, MO
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