Science: The Scabby-Nosed Wavey

Until this year, a small bird called Ross's goose had a unique distinction: it was the only North American goose or duck whose breeding ground was not known.

Hardly larger than a duck, Ross's goose is the smallest and rarest of American species. It is white, with black wing tips. Northmen call it the "galoot" or "scabby-nosed wavey" (its bill has rough bumps at the base). Its official name came from Bernard R. Ross, a Hudson's Bay Co. factor at Fort Resolution. In autumn the birds migrate south and west to spend the winter in California valleys.

Every year for four years Ornithologist...

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