[CT Birds] Cackling/Canada ID

greg hanisek ctgregh at yahoo.com
Wed Nov 25 13:13:44 EST 2015

Hello Griffin,
Thanks for posting this pix. That is definitely problematic bird, and not the well-defined (Richardson's) Cackling Goose that has been at Fisher Meadow (I saw it with others Saturday and yesterday). The bird in your photo is on the small side but the bill, mantle color and head shape aren't those of a (Richardson's) - the race of Cackling Goose most expected in CT. You should be hearing more about this problem from Nick Bonomo, who posted yesterday about a puzzling group of small geese at Mackenzie Res in Wallingford. I was with him for part of the time he was looking at what he fittingly called a "dizzying array" of smaller geese that did not fit the Richardson's profile, nor the criteria for the only other race of Cackling confirmed to date in CT,  (Taverner's) Cackling Goose. Whether these birds fit for the rather enigmatic smallest race of Canada Goose (Lesser Canada Goose - Branta canadensis parvipes) remains to be seen. 
The classic Richardson's Cackling Goose, when compared to the bird in your pix, has a "frosty mantle" that stands out from the mantle color of nearby Canada Geese. It also has a blocky head with a steep forehead and a rather stubby bill. Head shape and bill on your bird are more Canada-like. Brian Kleinman posted a great picture of the Richardson's at Fisher Meadow on eBird a few days ago that shows all these features.
So what is your bird? Good question. I know Nick is sending some of his Wallingford pix around for comment, and David Sibley has a blog post with his thoughts on some geese from MA that seem to present the same problem as the Wallingford birds.
Greg HanisekWaterbury 

    On Wednesday, November 25, 2015 12:45 PM, Griffin Richards via CTBirds <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org> wrote:

 I have a goose identified at Fisher Meadows today by others as a Cackling. Just wanted some other opinions on the bird before I submit a definitive list. The bird does seem small, but the bill seems rather large.

There’s a picture attached in this checklist: 
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S25993272 <http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S25993272>

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