12/06/2010

A brand new bird species in Massachusetts!

possible canada goose hybrid
I thought, at first, that I had finally caught sight of one of the rare geese in the area. This bird wasn't in any of my field guides, though, so I knew it was either a strangely mutated Canada Goose (which seemed unlikely considering the shape and size of the bill, which looked like a whole different species of goose), or a Canada Goose hybrid. It turns out to be a hybrid of a Canada Goose and some other goose.

white headed canada goose 3
The pictures are horrible, so you'll have to take my word for it when I say it looks very much like the head of a Snow Goose attached to a Canada Goose's body. A little bit disturbing, actually! I found out that geese do hybridize quite a bit, and I even found a picture of one like this one: Bill Schmoker's possible Canada x Snow Goose

whiteheaded canada goose
Jim Berry, from the massbird email list, said that "the size of this goose (same as the Canadas) implies that it's a hybrid with a white domestic goose". He could very well be right.

whiteheaded canada goose 2
The black bill and small head has me thinking Snow Goose X Canada Goose hybrid still, but you know me - I always go straight for the exotic if at all possible!

6 comments:

  1. Of course we go for the exotic, but alas! ... Even so, neat to see the results of a couple of birds whose hormones got the better of their senses. I once saw a Canada - Greater White front cross which matched Sibley. Hope you get a definitive (mostly) opinion.

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  2. What a strange looking bird. It does look a little exotic. Great capture Susan.

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  3. I have a red breasted nuthatch at my feeder today. Thanks to you I immediately knew what it was.

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  4. Thank you guys. I suspect we may never know for sure, but I appreciate being in good company!

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  5. Congratulations, Karen! The first time I saw one I thought it was a funny looking chickadee with a red belly and a striped head. That was a really bad call (but it was just a glimpse). Kudos to you, though!

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I love positive comments, critical comments,and corrections most of all!