British Birds: Bruce the Goose Entertains With Canoe Rolls
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
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.
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
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.
Have you seen this behaviour before
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
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!
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
© 2011 annmackiemiller