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Nov 28, 2010

Cackling Geese in Bolton

Photo by Dave Milsom

Dave Milsom, of Bolton, spotted and photographed these Cackling Geese (Brant hutchinsii), pictured above, in some of the village's ponds. He counted at least five of the smaller birds mixed in with hundreds of larger Canada Geese. Canada Geese are now split into two species (Branta canadensis or Canada Goose, and Branta hutchinsii or Cackling Goose). The two species are further divided into 7 subspecies, in the case of the Canada Goose, and 4 subspecies, in the case of the Cackling Goose, for a total of 11 subspecies (David Sibley is my source here). There are legitimate birders who think Canada Geese could be split into as many as six species and as many as 200 subspecies! No one really believes this will happen, however. Likely, the small Cackling Geese in the centre of the picture above are of the subspecies Branta hutchinsii hutchinsii, but I will defer to the experts, like Dave, to be more accurate than I. Thanks for the heads-up and photo, Dave.
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