Tuesday, October 12, 2010

MA - probable Cackling Goose - 10/12

probable Cackling Goose (left) with Canada Goose - Turner's Falls, Franklin Co., MA. October 12th, 2010.

Probable - because I was a bit put off by the size of this bird, even though the basic proportions, and especially the head and bill shape looked very good for Richardson's Cackling Goose (B.h. hutchinsii). I came across this bird on my third scan of the Canada Goose flock (c.600) at Turner's Falls power canal. Geese were already departing Northward when I found it so I really didn't have too much time to work on it. Had it been smaller, I don't think I would have too much of a problem with it being a Cackling Goose but the size, I think, could be an issue. Even so, it retained its small billed appearance and 'blocky' head-shape at all times.

Large male Richardson's Cackling Goose perhaps?

Small-billed, with steep forehead flattish crown and relatively short, stubby neck. The Canada Goose on the right is probably a smallish example of the form B.c. interior.

When alert, the bill looked tiny compared to the Canada Goose (B.c. interior) associating with it.


JoAnne Russo said...

hybrid cackling/Canada perhaps?

Brandon Holden said...

Looks great for a large Richardson's Cackling Goose.

- Bold feather edges on the coverts

- "square" head

- black starts high on the neck

All pro-richardson's CACG (adults at least, like this bird).


Some photos of CACG in Eastern Ontario over the last 3 weeks:




--- The middle link is a "large" bird like yours. Nice photos, and great blog!


James P. Smith said...

JoAnne and Brandon,

Thanks very much for your comments. I'm also of the opinion that it's likely a large Richardson's Cackling Goose in the sense that I can't see any 'wrong' features other than size. Regarding the latter, I've learned through bitter experience that much will depend on the size of the bird that the subject bird is being compared to. In this case, I think the bird closest to the Cackler also happens to be a smallish example of B. c. interior.
Anyhow, I'm hoping to follow up on this thought in a few days time.