A Goose with Pink Feet

Canada Geese_MilavecReservoir-CO_LAH_9654

Have you heard? There’s a Pink-footed Goose at Milavec Reservoir (about 30 minutes north of Denver)! The word spread quickly throughout Colorado’s birding community. This was amazing. This was incredible!

As the Audubon website explains,

Although many Pink-footed Geese nest in Greenland and Iceland, these birds all migrate across the North Atlantic to spend the winter in Britain and northwestern Europe. Strays that have gone the wrong direction have been found in North America only a couple of times, in eastern Canada.

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The Ubiquitous Canada Goose

canada-goose-fcnc-2009-01-21-lah-649Canada Geese are everywhere. They blanket golf courses, leave droppings on city park lawns, and foul ponds. They are a significant agricultural pest, especially of winter wheat. They’re even implicated in plane crashes, such as US Airways Flight 1549’s emergency “splash down” in the Hudson River last January.

You can find them on any body of water, even transient wetlands devoid of food. You hear honking and look up to see them flying east or west as well as north and south, arranged in their ragged v-formations. They seem so abundant that it’s hard to imagine they were ever endangered, but at one time the “Giant” subspecies (Branta canadensis maxima) was thought to be extinct!

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