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Small Canada Goose or Cackling Goose?


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Is the markedly smaller of these geese a small Canada Goose or is it a Cackling Goose? 

I estimate the wingspan to be about 3/4 that of the larger geese in the flock.

Northeastern Illinois,  September 22, 2018.

Bird on left:

BDWfMep.jpg

Bird on top:

juZcFG1.jpg

Bird in middle:

B0GHZdO.jpg

Edited by SeeHear
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About the ID, I'm generally pretty wary about calling a Cackler in flight. The first caution is that Cackling and Canada do hybridize. Top goose experts Steve Mlodonow and Louis Bevier agree that hybrids do exist, and likely more frequently than birders might think. 

A few years back, a Cackling Goose was reported by a local expert here in CT. Everything seemed good for Cackling until people began to have different thoughts, with the help of Steve and Louis. That bird was a likely hybird. My main point here is that Cackling Goose ID is anything but simple. Even expert birders are confused by the variation within both species, as well as the presence of hybrids, even in cases where birds are studied and photographed well, as in the CT example.

This bird may very well be a Cackling, but I wouldn't place much faith in that ID from a flight shot alone.

Edited by akiley
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