Saturday, October 2, 2021

Cackling Goose

Over the past week, Erika and I read reports of Cackling Geese returning to Puget Sound. On 28 September 2021, we counted 170 of these small, Canada Goose-like geese at the Billy Frank Jr National Wildlife Refuge near Olympia. These birds breed in arctic Canada and Alaska. They can be seen across the United States, but most winter along the Pacific Coast, the southern Great Plains, or the central Atlantic Coast. A few travel further south along the Gulf Coast of Mexico. According to Sibley (2014), the Cackling Goose’s flight call is distinctive in the Pacific Northwest—high pitched squeaking or yelping, unlike the familiar “honk” of a typical Canada Goose. 

On 1 October, we counted 50 Cackling Geese at the refuge. In this second photo, the Cackling Geese are joined by several Greater White-fronted Geese. The third photo is a close-up of a Greater White-fronted Goose that we photographed at the Tumwater Historical Park in Olympia on 17 March 2021. This last goose has a wide range across Arctic regions of the world. In our hemisphere, they mostly breed along the Pacific Coast and along the northwestern shores of the Gulf of Mexico.

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