Sep 18, 2010

Leucistic goose

From time to time white patches appeared in the feathers of birds. This lack of pigment is called leucisim. This can affect small areas like a single feather to the more extreme of the entire plumage. You would think that having a trait like this would make you vulnerable to predation and I am sure it does to some extent. The surprising thing I find is how well other birds of the same type will accept another that looks so different from the norm.
I was sitting a layby on the side of the road in Caithness enjoying a can of juice one day when a white greenfinch fluttered past carrying food back to a nest. It was shooting back and forth foraging and feeding so it didn’t seem to be a problem for him/her! Last year I helped out the ringing group collaring Orkney bred greylag geese and we had a lucuistic goose that got named blondie. Blondie is doing well last I heard and had avoided Predation by a large array hungry predators ….not to mention the attentions of the professional hunting element. Here is another white goose, I found this greylag today on the Breckan pools ( harray end of the stonyhill) It looks like a first year bird but im not sure. For a moment there was the usual it’s a snow goose it’s a snow goose excitement of the first spot until I got it in the bins. However I suppose its worth a note just for the novelty value of seeing a cool goose, I don’t think this will have the county twitchers out though…lol

After coming back and looking at these images, this one being the clearest, i am not sure that my diagnosis is quite correct here. I keep looking at that overly large looking bill and thinking that this is a domestic goose that has strayed and not a leucistic bird.......mmmm

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