Saturday, March 26, 2011

Dearborn's first Ross's Goose, #1847-26353

Just as I was ready to pick up my neighbor to go out for a Thursday evening meal at Roman Village - wonderful live music by two terrific, traditional musicians - I received a phone call from Julie Craves.  Jim Fowler had found a Ross's Goose on private property in Dearborn and they were on their way.  I picked up my neighbor and we joined them approximately fifteen minutes later.  Mike O'Leary, a Dearborn police officer, had already arrived and had taken photos.  The white goose was tiny next to the three companion [probably local] Canada Geese it had selected to settle with in this location.

When everyone who was coming had seen the goose, I creeped up behind a large tree to get closer for some photos.  The sun was bright and so there was a lot of evening western glare.  A cloud floated in to briefly block out the sun and I got the photo above.  Below is the cropped image of the head to improve field mark viewing. 

As is evident in this close-up crop, there are some troubling things that suggest hybrid.  The slope of the forehead, the ragged edge where the bill meets the face and the evidence of a grin patch - albeit a small, narrow one.  However, the bill is not too big and the base is bluish and having the start of the warty appearance (called caruncles) that is described in male birds. In his guide, Sibley allows for a hint of a grin patch.  Hmmm!     

Remarkably this bird was banded!  What an excellent spot for this bird to stopover.  Being banders, this was initially much to Julie's and Darrin's chagrin because no one had bothered to bring a scope.  They know exactly how to chase down the origin of a banded bird.  But when I looked at my photos in the camera I saw that I could zoom in on the numbers to identify.  I cropped each image where the band is visible as above and I could clearly identify five of the numbers - the 26353.  Julie knew that there were more numbers - like xxxx - 26353 - so we were still missing the first four.    

Mike O'Leary's photos revealed the band from a different angle and he was able to crop enough so that the first four numbers could be identified to 1847.  What a fun little investigative project.  The numbers still need to be confirmed before we will know for sure.  Stay tuned!

Follow-up:  On Monday, 03/28/2011 the Bird Banding Lab confirmed that this Ross's Goose was banded on Nunavut on August, 7th, 2006, a male of undetermined age.   Check the google map for the location of Nunavut, Canada and you can see that from Michigan this goose, heading straight north, is on a direct path to Nunavut. 

Second update:  Julie Craves has received additional information about this Ross's Goose that is very interesting.  Please check Julie's Net Results blog to read more.   

Flash back to the end of 2007 and other Ross's Goose photos for comparison.  

I had seen my life Ross's Goose in Delaware in November, 2001.  That sighting was a distant view and I was not as discriminating then as I am now.  So when Walt Palowski found a Ross's Goose at Willow Metropark, I drove out to see it on 12/01/2007 and took the photos above and below with my Canon Powershot.  Photographing birds was new to me then and I was thrilled with these.  I changed this Ross's Goose to my life bird.

Exactly one week later in December, 2007, on Karl Overman's Detroit Audubon Society field trip to Niagara, Ontario, Karl and Alan Wormington found the Ross's Goose below.  I decided then that this is my favorite goose.    

Julie has a more detailed review of the Dearborn Ross's Goose on her Net Results blog.  As follow-up from the Bird Banding Lab reveals, our efforts to piece together the band number of this bird were correct.  See also in Julie's comments section an interesting report from Joe Hildreth, an Ohio birder, about a banded Ross's Goose he found on the Bowling Green University golf course on March 13th.

Another excellent review of Ross's Goose identification is on Caleb Putnam's blog, Avian Tendencies. You'll need to scroll through several pages to his March 8th and 9th, 2011 entries.  

Fun Thursday evening birding.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Ms. Carroll,

I promote books for Princeton University Press -- birds, butterflies, and other natural history guides and material. Would you like to be added to our media database so you receive, from time to time, updates about forthcoming books and offers of review copies?

Please let me know,

Jessica Pellien
Princeton University Press