Thursday, 21 May 2015

Day 199 - Beautifully Beaked Barnacle Geese

Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis) on the York City Wall Walk
Hi all today's Day 199 and almost at 200! But anyway, yesterday I covered Greylag Geese so I thought I'd carry on the theme and cover another type of geese. I've mainly seen these geese around York, like on my York City Wall Walk and Dad has seen them quite often at York University. I don't see them very often so when I do see them I think it's a bit of a treat. I am talking today about Barnacle Geese!

So, here are the facts:
  • They are found around the West Coast of Scotland, and the top half of the coast of Ireland. They also Winter in the Netherlands.
  • They breed in Spitzbergn in Norway as well as Greenland and Northern Russia. Finally they Winter in most of Western Europe.
  • They are found on both Marshes and Estuaries. On migration to the UK, they are also found in Estuaries. 
Searching for dinner.
    Two Barnacle Geese having a chat
  • In Europe, there is around around 370,000 wintering birds and in the UK there's around 94,000 wintering birds.
  • Weirdly, there are 900 pairs of lost geese who breed in the UK. There are also over 58,000 breeding birds from Greenland.
  • This goose was once thought to start life as Goose Barnacles which grow on drift wood. This, obviously, is not true and they start from eggs like all other birds but no-one had seen the nests of these birds as they are found in the Arctic.
  • They have a length of 64cm and a rather large wingspan of 138cm. Both Male and Female birds weigh 1.7kg.
  • They eat mainly shoots and leaves
  • As you'll probably know by now, I have recently added in a new fact to do with a birds' size. The ring size! In this case it's J.
Having a bit of a stretch
  • They have a huge typical lifespan of 14 years! But the oldest Barnacle Goose was an absolutely giant 26 years, 11 months and 11 days!!
  • Now I'm never sure if some of these are just made up as the collective nouns are sometimes quite funny. I looked up the collective nouns for Barnacle Geese and found that they may be called an encrustment or hull of Barnacle Geese, sort of appropriate if you believe they start life as a Goose Barnacle!
Here are some links to some more information:

Hope you enjoyed,


1 comment:

  1. Lovely photos Zach, they're such pretty Geese! - Tasha