Readers’ wildlife photos

October 2, 2022 • 8:00 am

It’s Sunday, which means we have a group of themed bird photos from John Avise. John’s notes and IDs are indented, and you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them. This week’s theme is GEESE.

Day of the Goose

According to PCC(E), last Thursday (Sept. 29) was officially “Goose Day”.  To celebrate this glorious occasion, this week’s post will be of various wild Geese species that can be found here in Southern California.  With the exception of the Egyptian Goose (which has been introduced from Africa), all of the other pictured species are native to North America.  The Ross’s Goose, Cackling Goose, and Greater White-fronted Goose are rather rare in our area, but the other species can be quite common in suitable water habitats.Canada Goose (Branta canadensis):

Canada Goose portrait:

Cackling Goose (Branta hutchinsii):

Cackling Goose portrait:

Cackling Goose (left) with Canada Goose (right):

6) Brant (Branta bernicla):

Brant flock:

Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons):

Greater White-fronted Goose portrait:

Snow Goose (Anser caerulescens):

Snow Goose portrait:

Ross’s Goose (Anser rossii):

Ross’s Goose portrait:

Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegypticus):

Egyptian Goose portrait:

JAC: The photo below was neither taken by John nor shows a North American goose, but I wanted to put it in because it’s an American goose. This is the famous nēnē (Branta sandvicensis), also known as the Hawaiian goose. It’s found on only five islands in Hawaii, and is nearly flightless. After an arduous search, I located one in Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island—in a parking lot. As we know, many birds on oceanic islands like Hawaii become flightless or nearly flightless, probably  because oceanic islands lack predators and flight is metabolically expensive. Why fly if you don’t have to? This leads to selection pressures to reduce wing size and flight behavior.

Its closest living relative is almost certainly the Canada goose, and one or more of the nēnē’s ancestors probably arrived on the island about 500,000 years ago. With a population of only about 2,500, this is also the world’s rarest goose.

6 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I wish every single Canada Goose would fly to Trump’s golf courses & take up permanent residence, sort of like Hotel California.

  2. I love the cackling goose—it looks like an adorable miniature version of a Canada goose. I had never heard of these. I was interested (maybe not too surprised) to read that cackling geese and Canada geese used to be grouped as one species.

  3. Many years ago I was hiking on Haleakala and came across two nenes at a forest service building in the crater. A ranger there told me they sometimes showed up because they could get treats from hikers. But he warned me that it was illegal to harm or harrass them and that included feeding them. They were very serious about protecting them. At the time they only numbered in low 100s so I felt lucky to have seen two. It is nice to see they have increased in number.

  4. Also many years ago, we hiked down into the crater of Haleakala and encountered some nenes. We were snacking on crackers with peanut butter and our daughter gave some to a nene. As can happen with peanut butter, its mouth got stuck shut. We were thinking “OMG we are further endangering an endangered species”. Fortunately, it loosened up before we snuck away.

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