swans or snow geese

2 weeks ago while driving to PA we were on RT 684 in New York and along I would guess the Croton River I saw a huge amount of what I thought were Swans, someone told me they might have been snow geese. I still think they were swans… hundreds of them… anyone here live around there and can set me straight?

Look at images of swans and snow geese. You can see that the latter have shorter necks and less grumpy expressions. They also lack the swans’ black basal knob on the beak.

I have looked at pictures of both… they were far away from the road I still think they were swans…

Snow geese come in two flavours–white, hence the name, and “blue”, a dark slate gray. If the entire flock of birds that you saw was white, I’d lean towards swans. At a great enough distance, though, you might not notice any dark birds in a sea of white.

Without a photo it would be hard to be sure, but I would say by habitat that Mute Swans would be more probable on a river than Snow Geese. This time of year Snow Geese are mainly in salt marshes like Jamaica Bay.

I live not too far north of 684 and spend a lot of time kayaking (during the summer, natch). There are quite definitely a lot of swans on the local rivers.

I think I have seen the group you’re talking about along 684. Those are certainly swans, if I am associating the right image with the particular place.

sorry we were going to fast for a picture… I had to go back on mapquest to figure out where we were. The swans went on and on forever. I always assumed the river led to a reservoir or something but it look like a lake. Thanks for helping, I am going to believe I saw swans. I figured it would be a newsworthy event or something. Gosh we get pictures of bears in the backyard in the papers here in central mass. figured hundreds of swans would be newsworthy.

Mute Swans are introduced from Europe and have become increasingly numerous in some eastern states, to the extent they are considered an invasive species and a pest in some areas. They can be very aggressive and also affect the habitat for other species.

You might look at sightings reported to eBird.

bolding mine

I have no problem sharing my kayaking rivers with geese or ducks or muskrats or even beavers. But I do not like sharing them with swans, especially when the river is narrow. Something about the way they LOOK at me–

No incidents. Yet.

Best to keep away.

Aggressive swan kills kayaker.


I’ll definitely give them a wider berth this spring. Thanks for the info.

Bringing this thread back from the dead to report that I drove down 684 today. Since the season has changed I can’t be sure that the few birds I saw were the same species as the hundreds seen by the Op in January; but the ones that were there today enjoying the almost ice-free waters were definitely swans.

Roasted goose I like. Yum yum!