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British Birds: Bruce the Goose Entertains With Canoe Rolls

Updated on October 2, 2018
annmackiemiller profile image

Ann is a passionate birder and photographer. She loves nothing better than creating photo storybooks about her beloved birds.

Bird pictures

Little white greylag goose doing a canoe roll.
Little white greylag goose doing a canoe roll. | Source

Leucistic Greylag Goose Cools Down

Some geese are content with a quick dunk and a bit of a preen but this youngster put his heart and soul into his evening bath. Perhaps it was a sign of spring and the joy of sunshine after the long winter, perhaps it was just his youth or it was simply too darn hot. Whichever, the goose provided me with a half hour of entertainment as he dived and rolled and preened. I had seen juvenile mallard ducks with this behaviour but this is the first time I have seen a goose do it.

I call him Bruce the goose and he is a leucistic greylag goose - that means he is a white goose, not albino - it has something to do with a defective pigment gene that affects the feathers in development. It is surprisingly common in birds although in Bruce's case it seems to set him apart from the other geese - he is definitely a loner, always on the edges of the flock.

I hope you enjoy watching it through the lens of my camera. Please leave me a comment when you visit to let me know if you did.

Bird Behaviour seen at its best

"I call this my swan dive"
"I call this my swan dive"

Bird pictures

White Greylag goose "Second movement"
White Greylag goose "Second movement" | Source

Goosing and Diving?

 See what I did there?  Never mind.

This young goose had the time of his life showing off his diving and flipping moves in the water.

It would dive under the water and reappear several yards further on then start again.  Watching it I was never quite sure where it was going to reappear.

Bird pictures

Greylag goose, "A quick flick..."
Greylag goose, "A quick flick..." | Source

Bird pictures

Little white Greylag goose playing in the water.
Little white Greylag goose playing in the water. | Source

Bird pictures

Greylag goose "...and we're done."
Greylag goose "...and we're done." | Source

Leucistic Greylag Goose

This youngster is part of a flock of geese living on a greenfield site near my home. It abuts part of the Leeds to Liverpool canal. The original geese were escapees from local allotments who have gone wild. The white geese are mainly Embden geese with some Toulous geese. Over the years there has been cross breeding with greylag and other grey geese.

This particular goose is a leucistic greylag goose, not an albino, it doesn't have the pink eyes an albino would have. Leucistism is the lack of certain pigments, not just melanin. This one is white with grey spots and splotches and grey tips to its wings, it looks almost polka dot at times.

Unfortunately it does tend to be ostracized from the rest of the flock. It holds back at feeding time but it can be aggressive in its own right.

How a goose does a canoe roll

"Here we go..."
"Here we go..." | Source
"...over we go..."
"...over we go..."

Storybook Photography

I love photography and my special passion is wildfowl - waterfowl in the USA. I particularly enjoy watching and trying to understand bird behaviour. It is always fascinating to just take the time to sit and watch for a while.

I use a Nikon D90 camera with a 70-300mm Nikon lens and a 18-105mm Nikon lens. I tickle them and compress them in Photoshop Elements for use of the internet.

All the bird pictures by wildlife photographer AnnMackieMiller are for sale - contact her for details.

Bird pictures

White Greylag goose "...roly poly..."
White Greylag goose "...roly poly..." | Source

Bird pictures

White Greylag goose "... and over we go..."
White Greylag goose "... and over we go..." | Source

Bird pictures

White Greylag goose "..wheee..."
White Greylag goose "..wheee..." | Source

Bird Behaviour

Have you seen this behaviour before

See results

Goose picture

Goose - preening
Goose - preening | Source

Preening is fun

Most geese do their preening near the shore but this young goose decided it was much more fun to stay in the water. As it preened it's feathers it floated - going round and round and providing me an ideal photo opportunity.

They need to preen to keep the feathers waterproof and free from insects and parasites.

Bird pictures: preening goose

Goose - Getting to this hard-to-get places
Goose - Getting to this hard-to-get places | Source

Goose picture

White Greylag goose
White Greylag goose | Source

Did you know?

Most geese mate for life. They have been known to mourn a mate.

My own observations is that during breeding season, threesomes are common. There is usually an alpha male and alpha female and a beta female.

There is evidence that wildfowl (waterfowl) lived on earth 40 millions years ago.

Goose picture: Bottoms up!

White goose - tail up
White goose - tail up | Source

Goose facts

Anser anser domesticus or Anser cygnoides)

These are essentially a domestic goose, classified as 'grey geese'.

Origins are thought to be Germany and Holland

Weigh between 20 and 26 lbs

They are about 3-4 feet in height

Wingspan - around 5-6 feet

Goose picture

White Greylag goose - spreading his wings.
White Greylag goose - spreading his wings. | Source

© 2011 annmackiemiller

Did you enjoy the show?

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    • Dressage Husband profile image

      Stephen J Parkin 

      6 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

      The pictures are really good he put on quite the show for you. Photography is so in the moment you are lucky to live close to the canal.

    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 

      6 years ago from California

      Lovely photos, Ann! I love the one preening. It looks like the goose is trying to spy something at the other side of the pond. :)

    • annmackiemiller profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

      thanks everyone. glad it made you all smile.

    • sheilamarie78 profile image


      6 years ago from British Columbia

      Those are some really fun photos! I'll bet they look great on your Zazzle products!

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 

      6 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Wow I really loved this page, it's my best entertainment of the night. Your photography is so lively, you almost feel as if you're there watching that goose's antics. I enjoyed this so much! Thanks for sharing such great pictures as well as the adventure of taking them.

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 

      6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Ann, Bruce the Goose is hilarious! what a cutie - great photos - he looks hysterical with his goose feet stickin' up in the air lol!

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Bruce the goose doing his canoe roll was exactly what I needed to see this morning as I sit here enjoying my first cup of coffee. You had me giggling and smiling and I thank you for that. I have seen a lot of ducks and geese but never the roll lol. Absolutely love it!

    • RaintreeAnnie profile image


      6 years ago from UK

      I think Bruce is wonderful! Ann you have taken gorgeous photos here. Many really show his character and he is certainly enjoying himself! It is fascinating to watch birds. I loved reading this :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      We have hundreds of permanent resident Canada geese here in Vancouver, BC. I love visiting them on a warm summer afternoon because they seem to put on their craziest displays then including rolling on their backs like your goose did. They race across the surface of the water, dive, splash, wing flap, and roll; it's crazy time. They know me and I swear they know I love to watch them; there is one who will always stand right in front of me and flap his wings out for me to take photos. Then I ask him again 'oh please, flap the wings' and he does it while looking right at me. They are amazing birds.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 

      8 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      This little guy was really enjoying himself! That's kind of how I feel once spring as sprung! Wonderful pictures and great information. Voted up and more! :)

    • bridalletter profile image

      Brenda Kyle 

      8 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      Very enjoyable hub. I believe there is an account setting that allows you to disable the pinterest sharing button.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      8 years ago from the beautiful south

      Wow, I love your pictures!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      great photos, had no idea geese did these water antics. My neighbors had a duck and I was fascinated by it antics as it preened itself in a small pond they had for it. Birdwatching is fascinating.

    • annmackiemiller profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

      lucky you - geese are such fun to watch - yes I've seen geese doing this. thanks for visiting.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      We have a pair of Embden geese that love to swim in our 18 foot deep pond. Recently they have begun a ritual we think is rare. They dive. They dive 8 feet down and swim underwater for several seconds before poping up meters away from where they plunged down. We have filmed this phenomenon and wondered if others have seen their geese do this.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Awesome shots

    • annmackiemiller profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

      Joy is seeing you here Sarah - you have no idea how much that means to me. xxx

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Springiddy geese - joy!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      10 years ago from North Carolina

      Awww, these are great photos. Love it.

    • annmackiemiller profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

      thanks so much to you Evelyn and Les Trois Chenes - I appreciate the visits and the link.

    • Les Trois Chenes profile image

      Les Trois Chenes 

      10 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

      What a wonderful, fun hub. I loved your pictures but they make me feel sad for the poor geese I've kept in the past with just buckets of water to 'play' with. Putting link onto my goose hub.

    • evelynsaenz profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 

      10 years ago from Vermont

      When I saw the first photo I thought it was a joke. What an enthusiastic duck! Thank you for being there at the right time and place, camera in hand!

    • annmackiemiller profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England


    • Alosea profile image


      10 years ago from Illinois

      Bottom's Up! Hilarious!

    • annmackiemiller profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

      thanks so much for visiting and leaving a message

    • CastleRoy profile image


      10 years ago from RI USA

      Love it. the photos Ore wonderful.

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      10 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Wonderful photos of the goose and facts.


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