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Nature Blog Network
Monday, January 14, 2008

snow goose 3

snow geese with mallards

Graylag GooseAnser anser – also known as Greylag Goose, Oie cendrée (French), ánsar común (Spanish), Graugans, Wildgans (German), Griza ansero (Esperanto), Сивата гъска (Bulgarian), Merihanhi (Suomi / Finnish), Grágæs (Icelandic), nyári lúd (Magyar / Hungarian), L’oca selvatica (Italian), Pilkoji žąsis (Lithuanian), grauwe gans (Dutch), Grågås (Norwegian), Ránesčuonjá (Northern Sami / Indigenous People of North Sweden, Norway and Finland), Grågås (Swedish), Boz kaz (Turk), Grågåsen (Danish).

It was unseasonably warm last weekend and these Graylag Geese (also known as Barnyard Geese) descended on many parks and recreational areas near the Mississippi River here in Eastern Iowa (as did lots of mallards). Graylag Geese are descendants of domestic geese and thus can be found in a variety of plumages.

Sexes look similarly.

Photo taken with the Canon Digital Rebel XT / 350D and a Sigma 70-300mm Lens on January 6, 2008 at Leach Park in Bettendorf, Iowa.

Thanks to Nathan in the comments for the ID help.

Posted by: Mike in: Birds,Iowa at 12:01 am

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  • http://chickens.not-likely.co.uk Ripley

    Love your pictures, thanks for sharing them

  • Green Head

    Looks like Mr. Drake Mallard is on point, or about to attack. Nice shot.

  • http://www.thedrinkingbird.blogspot.com Nathan

    These geese don’t look like Snow Geese to me. For starters, they lack the black wingtips and the black “grin patch” you’d expect to see on the bill, plus they have orange feet where Snow Geese have pink.

    You can also note the very deep belly on these birds which points to manky Greylag Geese, or Barnyard Geese from domestic stock. The messy genetics also explains the brown patch on the bird in the second picture. They can have a pretty wide variety of plumages and colors.

  • http://www.iowavoice.com Moe

    Nathan – Thanks. I had the hardest time identifying these geese but settled on the Snow Goose because I couldn’t come up with anything else. I’ll do some more research and see what I can come up with.

  • tracey

    i just photographed either graylag geese (2) or snow geese. they were in what i would refer to as a wild setting, near o’leary’s lake in hazel green, wisconsin. the pair were there both last weekend and this. i’m confused, are the graylag’s domestic or wild or both? since i had such a difficult time identifying them, i was leaning toward snow geese because of their setting and that i’d never seen them there before. help me out please! thanks.

  • tracey

    please notify any follow up comments via email thank you.

  • http://www.iowavoice.com Moe

    Tracey, I don’t believe I can set it to email you after-the-fact. I think you have to leave a comment and click the box that says “follow up via email” or whatever.

    Greylay Geese are wild geese that have descended from barnyard / domestic geese, or, sometimes, could be actual domesticated geese that have escaped and interbred, etc.

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