Thursday, December 8, 2016

Cackling Goose - Like Canada, but Smaller

When Cackling Geese landed on the waterfowl display pond in Regina's Wascana Park recently, I thought they were Canada Geese. But when they swam closer, I realized that despite the similar markings, they looked quite different. Not only were they much smaller — closer to duck-sized — but they had rounded heads, with steeply sloped foreheads and small triangular beaks. Kind of stub-faced, in fact.

Cackling Goose. Copyright © Shelley Banks, All Rights Reserved.
Small Cackling Goose in Regina, SK  © SB 

The Cackling Goose used to be a sub-species of the Canada Goose, but it's now recognized as genetically distinct, and as a separate species that in summer flies far further north to breed. We get them here during migration, as we're on their flyway from their winter grounds.  

For comparison, here's a large, long-billed Canada Goose that was patrolling its territory in the same park, where some of its species live year-long.

Canada Goose. Copyright © Shelley Banks, all rights reserved.
Large Canada Goose in Regina, SK.  © SB

What is this? A Cackling Goose (Bernache de Hutchins), and a Canada Goose (Bernache du Canada).
Location: Wascana Park, Regina, SK
Photo dates: Cackling Goose: September 29, 2016; Canada Goose: April 26, 2016.


1 comment:

  1. Beautiful photos, Shelley! Thanks so much for sharing, and warm greetings from Montreal, Canada. :)


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