Sunday, December 26, 2010

Ross's Goose

Ross's Goose at Regents Park, London, Uk; 4/10/10.
We saw some pure white geese in Regents Park, which I at first dismissed as some domestic breed, but then at a closer look, I thought they could be a Snow Goose. When I zoomed in on my photos and looked at the beak of this bird, I realized it was a Ross's Goose (Above). The Ross's is smaller than a Snow Goose, has a rounder head, and its bill is smaller (in proportion) and doesn't have the Snow Goose trademark "grin." Its bill has a bluish hue at the base and the border where the bill meets the face is straight (Below).
A close up of the Ross's Goose bill showing the bluish hue at its base, Regents Park, London, UK; 4/10/10.
There is an interesting background of how the Ross's Goose acquired its name. The goose is named after Bernard Ross, who was the chief trader for the Hudson Bay Company in northwest Canada during the 1860's. In that position he was able to lend help to Robert Kennicott in his explorations of the area. In 1861, he sent a specimen of this small white goose taken at the Great Slave Lake, Canada, to Mr. Cassin for identification. Mr. John Cassin -- at that time the Curator of Birds at the Academy of Natural Sciences - honored Mr. Ross by naming this goose after him.
This species breeds in northern Canada and winters in the southern United States (primarily central California). Smaller numbers can also be found from Colorado to central Mexico and on the Texas coast. Scattered populations also exist along the East Coast. I never expected to see a Ross's Goose in London. But records show that it is a rare vagrant to Western Europe and individuals or small groups have turned up in Holland and Britain which have seemed to be of natural origin. It is known that the Ross's Goose is commonly kept in wildfowl collections, and so the true frequency of Ross's Geese being naturally wild in Britain is hard to calculate.
A couple of Ross's geese sunning themselves at Regents Park, London, UK; 4/10/10.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Awwwwwww.....he is a cutie and so winter white...very interesting background as well!