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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Crazy Geese

Here's a small group of geese (family?) that was hanging out near Lake Towhee, Bucks Co., PA earlier this month. Can you identify them?


Rick Wright said...

I always check the rear ends of odd geese first: a 'dragging belly' is invariably a sign of miscegenation with domestic Graylags. The black and white bird shows that mark, along with orangish tarsi, making me confident that it has Graylag and Canada blood in its veins. The big white one looks like a Graylag; I can't tell what breed. The one that looks like a Canada probably is a Canada, and an adult at that. The remaining bird has a dark bill and apparently a dark stripe up the back of the neck; the pale tarsi and bluish upperparts suggest that it is a Graylag x Swan Goose.
What were your thoughts?

Connie said...

The big white bird looks to me to be a cross between a domestic White Embden and African or Brown Chinese. The brown with orange legs would be the African, the Splashy Canada a mix between, the big white and the Canada, is my best guess.

Rick Wright said...

Chinese Goose = Swan Goose Anser cygnoides, just to help keep the terminology clear.
Embden is a Graylag breed, right?
I don't think the brown bird is entirely Swan Goose; the upperparts seem to be too bluish and the bill doesn't show any knob on my monitor.
I suspect you'd need a drafter's compass and some spaghetti to draw this gang's family tree!

birdchaser said...

Well, lets just say that the one that looks like a Canada might actually be a good Canada goose. The rest?

The big white one is puzzling because in some ways the bill looks like Snow Goose--pink with black grin patch, not orange like I'd expect in a domestic Graylag? Otherwise it is big and heavy with the domestic "dragging belly" you mentioned. So any chance there is some Snow Goose in that bird? There was an injured Snow Goose and its mate (?) that oversummered last year a few miles away at another lake.

The pied bird might be the offspring of the white one and the Canada looking one.

The brown one looked like some kind of Swan Goose, without a knob on the bill--so not sure what that means yet. And I haven't gone over it yet plumage wise to see what else I might think it might have in it.

A crazy little group of birds for sure!

When I found these birds I had just ripped the Stokes guide for its skimpy treatment of feral and exotic waterfowl. With birds like this running around in parks all over America, it would be nice if we had more resources to help us sort them out. If nothing more as a fun puzzle for us. But for beginners, I could easily see someone calling that white one a Snow Goose if that was the only white goose they had in their book and the bill sort of matched.

Rick Wright said...

I don't see much in the pale bird to make me think of Snow Goose, but the photos aren't resolving very well on the screen, so who knows.
I often find this helpful:

birdchaser said...

Nice, Rick. I was looking for a book like this a couple years ago. I'll have to ask Santa for it in my stocking :-)

birdchaser said...

Added a couple more larger shots of the gray and white birds for fun.

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