The Snow Goose is my favorite goose. It's also a species that's eluded me for years. This year, however, has been different! I recently got my lifer Snow Goose in Athens, which I wrote about here. Now two more Snow Geese! The Snow Goose is a rare, but regularly occurring, bird in Ohio. They breed in the high Arctic and migrate to locations east and west of Ohio. During migration, they use flyways that bypass Ohio completely, and the vast bulk of individuals never visit the state. However, every year a few dozen individuals migrate through Ohio. These individuals end up in Ohio for a variety of reasons; some are blown off course by weather fronts, others might be juveniles who don't have this "migration" thing down yet, and others might be individuals who have some sort of a flaw with the navigating portion of their brain. Birds use various mechanisms to migrate, including Earth's magnetism, star-navigation, and location of sunsets, and if the part of their brain that facilitates navigation is either deformed or injured, you might end up with a bird that knows it needs to migrate, but just doesn't know exactly where to go. Generally speaking though, since we are so close to the flyways Snow Geese use, the ones that show up in Ohio are probably just individuals blown a bit off course by weather.
Thanks for reading!