Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cackling Goose

Yesterday among the hundreds of Canada Geese on the waters of the Brattleboro Retreat Meadows was at least one CACKLING GOOSE.

I spotted one from the parking area near Curves about Noon - behind the island in West River. About 2:30pm, I spotted one from boat landing on Rte 30. Same bird?

Perhaps a word of caution: I do not have a lot of experience with Cackling Goose, so if anyone has a doubt about the ID, please tell me, and reasons for not agreeing.

Unless contradicted, I shall call this a Richardson's Cackling Goose (Branta hutchinsii hutchinsii), but there is close overlap with Lesser Canada Goose (Branta canadensis parvipes), and there are intergrades in both species.

Thanks in advance - and Good Birding!


Tina said...

Great eye! I would have never picked up on the difference between the Canadian and the Cackling...guess that where your expertise comes to play and my novice ways need to improve! :) Now I will be looking closer at all those individuals who make up the tons of CG flocks we see around here!! Thanks for sharing these pics!

Chris said...

Hi Chris,
This is starting to be a nightmare for the birders, isn't it! I think you are right about the ID but I would wait for further confirmation. I tend not to separate them really as species and I guess this is a flaw coming from my work, even if genetics tell the story:

"The newly recognized Cackling Goose is a smaller version of the Canada Goose. Formerly considered the smallest subspecies of one variable species, recent work on genetic differences found the four smallest forms to be very different. These four races are now recognized as a full species: the Cackling Goose. It breeds farther northward and westward than does the Canada Goose."
This is from http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Cackling_Goose/id

It is like for the brent goose, they are indeed several of them, but again the differences are subtle! I have already enough problems for the gulls and warblers ID :-)
Well done on this spotting. So was it the first time you saw it...

Chris Petrak said...

This was not my first sighting, but first I found on my own. I've made lots of hoped-for sightings. Couple of other birders had reported the Cackling, so I was looking for the smaller, stub nosed version. But even so ...

Anonymous said...

Cool, I guess I should be more attentive with the Canada Geese.

Unknown said...

I hate to say it, Chris, but that little goose is ADORABLE!

Dawn Fine said...

Great sighting..I will now be looking as well.


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