Laura Erickson's For the Birds

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Cackling Geese!

When I was in California last week, I went to Oak Grove Park in Stockton, where a host of domestic ducks and geese are joined with some genuinely wild birds. Coolest were four tiny Cackling Geese that appear to be the Aleutian subspecies. They're smaller than domestic Mallards, with a very short neck and tiny beak. It was really fun to see them up close and personal--their diminutive proportions as well as smaller size make distinguishing them from Canada Geese rather the same kind of situation as distinguishing Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers. The only field guide that I know of that shows the Cackling Goose as a different species is the fifth edition of the National Geographic guide. But the Cackling Goose entry is up to date at Cornell's All About Birds site.