Migratory waterfowl identification

Three white-fronted geese in flight
White-fronted geese, also known as "specklebelly geese"

There are many different duck and goose species available to Washington hunters. This can make being in the field challenging for some because within the daily bag limits and possession limits, there are more restrictive limits on certain species. Shorter seasons and other special regulations are in place for some species as well. Hunters need to identify birds – and do it quickly – before pulling the trigger.

If you have trouble telling a bufflehead from a brant or a greenhead mallard from a green-wing teal, you have some homework to do before going afield. The best resource is probably the Ducks at a Distance: A waterfowl identification guide. Other resources include:

Many field guides and other bird identification books are also available.