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Geese - Western USA (1 Viewer)

jocateme

Well-known member
Hi all,

I just found out (only about 10 years later; been using old field guides) about the existence of the Cackling Goose. This lead me to a review of all my photos of geese previously identified as Canada. Luckily I live in Brazil and have taken only a few picture of the "species" during a couple of trips, but I'm finding it very hard to tell the new species apart. This is where and when the pics were taken, and my best guess for the ID:

1 - Pebble Beach-CA (Feb/12). Canada (moffitti)?
2 & 3 - Portland-OR (Jan/14). Canada (parvipes)?
4 - Portland-OR (Jan/14). Cackling (minima)?

Also, are Cacklings supposed to be spotted in northeastern US in winter?

Any help is appreciated!
 

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DarkFireFalcon

Well-known member
I agree with your species IDs, but I'm not going to comment on the Canada Goose subspecies IDs. The Cackling is probably minima, given how dark it is, and they are the expected subspecies in that area.
 

Microtus

Maryland USA (he/him)
Supporter
United States
I agree with your species IDs, but I'm not going to comment on the Canada Goose subspecies IDs. The Cackling is probably minima, given how dark it is, and they are the expected subspecies in that area.

I agree with DFF, down to the not commenting on Canada Goose subspecies.

Cackling Geese are found in the northeastern USA in winter and I've caught up with that species there a few times.
 

jocateme

Well-known member
Thanks a lot guys! Guess I'll have to keep the sightings in NE USA as Branta spp. since I didn't take pictures of them.
 

Microtus

Maryland USA (he/him)
Supporter
United States
Thanks a lot guys! Guess I'll have to keep the sightings in NE USA as Branta spp. since I didn't take pictures of them.

Cackling is very very uncommon in the northeastern USA. You're surely safe to call them Canada Geese.
 

AlexC

Aves en Los Ángeles y CT
Opus Editor
Supporter
Cackling is very very uncommon in the northeastern USA. You're surely safe to call them Canada Geese.

Agree. If you saw Branta geese in the NE, they're Canadas unless you painstakingly look through hundreds for the quite infrequent single Cackling. I birded Connecticut for years and only twice ever self-found a Cackling Goose in-state.
 

Silverwolf

Well-known member
I don't know of any occasions where cackling is considered relatively common except on breeding grounds, there is usually only one for at least one or two hundred Canada geese in the majority of regions I've visited.

In my opinion you will probably be safe with just calling everything Canada geese unless you specifically see a smaller bird with a stubby head and bill.
 

AlexC

Aves en Los Ángeles y CT
Opus Editor
Supporter
I don't know of any occasions where cackling is considered relatively common except on breeding grounds, there is usually only one for at least one or two hundred Canada geese in the majority of regions I've visited.

In my opinion you will probably be safe with just calling everything Canada geese unless you specifically see a smaller bird with a stubby head and bill.

Since some of these photos are from Portland, Oregon, it's worth mentioning in response to this comment that in the Pacific NW of the US, Cackling Geese are often equally common to Canadas - at least in the winter. I spent my holiday in Portland and probably saw more Cackling than Canadas.
 
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jocateme

Well-known member
Thank you all, this was very helpful! I'll take the "every goose is Canada until proven Cackling" rule except where I notice Cacklings are in fact common, then.
 

KyleM

Well-known member
Thank you all, this was very helpful! I'll take the "every goose is Canada until proven Cackling" rule except where I notice Cacklings are in fact common, then.


That has been my experience, I've seen a lot of cackling reported, but in those areas I have never been convinced it was anything but a 'lesser canada' in Southern Ontario.
 

DarkFireFalcon

Well-known member
That has been my experience, I've seen a lot of cackling reported, but in those areas I have never been convinced it was anything but a 'lesser canada' in Southern Ontario.

Lesser Canada Geese are actually much rarer in Ontario than Cackling Geese! That is, if you take Lesser Canada Geese to mean the "Parvipes" subspecies. If you simply mean any smallish Canada Geese, then you could be right. It's worth noting, as well that the Cackling Geese seen in the east are of the largest subspecies, which look much different than the almost mallard-size minima common in the west.
 

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