Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Christmas Goose

As we all preparing for the excitement of the winter break, residents of West Campus were treated with a special holiday present, a new bird!  Our last new bird for the campus list was last spring over, just about a year and a half ago.  As our list climbs, it's been tougher to find species we haven't yet seen but we have a little bit of end of the year luck.

Snow Goose- young bird, adults are white with pink bill and legs

Monday evening I first spotted a different goose among the Canada Geese but wasn't able to ID it in the dark or take photos.  I came prepared the next day but to no avail, no goose.  Then yesterday, a member from the YU Art Gallery, stopped to ask me about the 'other goose'.  So I grabbed my camera and went on a goose chase.  Not so wild, I relocated the bird in a couple of minutes and took some photos.

Grabbing a snack along the way.

After some help from friends on Facebook, the bird was verified to be a juvenile Snow Goose!  Snow Geese breed in the Arctic and migrate south along flyways to the southern US.  The major flyway is through the middle of the country but a smaller population flies along the east coast to overwinter in Virginia/North Carolina.  Sometimes these birds will take quick stops along the way, including in Connecticut and this year we seem to be popular.

Size comparison with a Canada. Probably a 'Lesser' Snow Goose based on size.

All the birder on campus are excited about this new find and the gaggle seems to be fairly acclimated to people.  Next time you see the geese take a look to spot the smaller white one before it decides to head on south.