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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Cackling Geese, Part 2

Last winter I introduced Cackling Geese (Branta hutchinsii) when I photographed a flyover in Bodega Harbor (see that post from 12 February 2013).

This morning I obtained closer photographs when I noticed two individuals in a small patch of grassland near the entrance to the Bodega Marine Laboratory.

Remember that these are basically smaller versions of Canada Geese.  They were officially split off as separate species in 2004.  Note that everything is smaller, and when a Canada Goose isn't nearby for comparison, it's the shorter bill that really stands out as being different.

It was interesting to see that these individuals had slightly different head shapes, with one being more rounded than the other.  Can you see that in the photo above?

Below are the two individuals in separate photos.  Can you pick out which one has the rounder head?

[The first photo shows the goose with the longer or flatter head, while the second photo shows the goose with the rounder head.]

The geese were walking through the grassland, searching for food (i.e., plants to graze on).

I was curious about which species of plants they preferred.  Generally it was too difficult to see what they were eating, but I photographed one of the geese with the green leaves of a native grass, California Brome (Bromus carinatus).

Warning: This next section is only for Bugs Bunny fans!

P.S. I know most of you will think I'm crazy, but I had a funny memory run through my head while watching these birds.  It had to do with a Bugs Bunny cartoon!  It might be hard to tell from the photos, but these geese are quite small, and their diminutive features make them quite "cute."  There was something about their appearance that almost made me want to pick them up...and that made me remember the Bugs Bunny episode with the Abominable Snowman when he picks up Daffy Duck and says, "Just what I always wanted, my own little bunny rabbit.  I will name him George...and I will hug him and pet him and squeeze him..."  If you remember that cartoon, I think you'll know what I mean.  If not, I apologize for the random and rambling story!  (By the way, you can watch The Abominable Snow Rabbit episode on the Internet.)

1 comment:

Jeremy Long said...

I totally remember that line from Bugs Bunny cartoon. Classic.