Living along the Pacific Flyway provides a treat; many birds pass through or winter over around here. Our most well known and popular of the winter visitors is the Sandhill Crane. But, in this post, I am going to present another visitor, one less known, the Cackling Goose (Branta hutchinsii).
The Cackling Goose and the Canada Goose look nearly identical and they are related. Until recently they were considered 2 subspecies of a single species. The Cackling Goose is smaller and makes a distinctive cackle instead of the Canada Goose’s honk. One of the field marks I use to identify them is a white band at the base of the black neck; its not a perfect identifier but it is very good.
While the Canada Goose is ubiquitous year around, I have only seen the Cackling Geese, reliably, in a limited area and only in Late October and November. One birder told me that we get the Aleutian Subspecies; there are several other subspecies.
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