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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Cackling Goose question

Today one reader posted this comment:

"Of course everyone is familiar with the average Canada Goose. But the relevant question is: what specific criteria distinguishes the difference between a dwarf Canada Goose and a normal Cackling Goose? Your expert opinion is appreciated."

First, I'm not an expert, far from it. It is a complex issue that I am still learning. Second, the designation of several previously recognized subspecies into a full species have made identification difficult. From what I have read, the bill is a good starting point. Bills are smaller and stubbier than on Canada Goose. Cackling Goose are always smaller than Canada Goose. On average, the largest Cackling Goose is still smaller than the smallest Canada Goose.

There are noticably size differences within the birds of the overwintering flocks in Prospect Park. The individual in question, however, is considerably smaller than any Canada Goose I've ever seen. There is certainly the possibility that our identification of this individual is incorrect and that it is a runt. However, if it were just a runt I would think the bill shape would still look like that of a large bodied Canada Goose. On this point David Sibley writes:

"...Judging from the data here, the difference between the "runt" wild-raised birds from Akimiski Island and their better-nourished counterparts is not enough to cause confusion of these small Canada Geese B. c. interior with Cackling Geese B. h. hutchinsii, for example (see Table 2)..."

I highly recommend reading the complete text of his excellent discussion and identification tips here:

Identification of Canada and Cackling Goose

From the bits that I've learned, so far, it appears that individuals at the extreme ends of the size spectrum are more easily identified. If the bird in Prospect Lake weren't so outstanding in size and bill shape I suspect nobody would have given it a second look. I'm certain that there are cases when even a more experienced birder would have trouble identifying a Cackling Goose among a flock of 500 Canada Goose. I guess we're all going to have to start paying more attention to our most common goose.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

A Cackling Goose in Prospect Park

Today Peter Dorosh located a Cackling Goose among the flocks of Canada Goose on Prospect Lake. It was subsequently relocated and observed by several people. It was first seen near West Island (the small island closest to the Park Circle entrance) but was moving back and forth along the west side of the lake.

Angus Wilson has a very thorough piece on Canada Goose identification and subspecies, as well as, the 2004 reclassification by the American Ornithologist's Union's Committee on Classification and Nomenclature.

Last year, when I posted photos of the Cackling Goose that was at Lido Beach, some readers thought that I was pulling their leg. I swear, there really is a difference between the Canada Goose and Cackling Goose. Even a non-birder would appreciate the difference in size, head shape, bill size and neck length.

Cackling Goose

(Photo credit - Steve Nanz)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Blog Awards

"Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn" has posted their awards for "The Best of Brooklyn Blogging 2005. I was very happy to learn that "The City Birder" won in the category of "Best Brooklyn Blog with a Healthy Obsession with Bird Watching". The competition was fierce and I will proudly display the award on the mantle above the fireplace.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Park Slope Hawks

I was standing at the crosswalk at the intersection of 8th Avenue and 5th Street, waiting for the traffic signal to change. Several pigeons flew from the roof of a building to my right and I instinctively followed them with my eyes as they passed above me. As I watched, I was pleasantly surprised to see a Red-tailed Hawk circling in the air above the intersection. A kestrel was making close, passing dives at the much larger bird of prey. Sun shining through the kestrel’s rust-colored tail made him look a bit like a tiny Red-tailed Hawk. Moments later, another Red-tailed Hawk appeared from the north and attacked the aggressive, little falcon. The kestrel realized that he was outnumbered and headed south, following 8th Avenue.

The two Red-tailed Hawks soared in slow, tight circles above the rows of brownstone homes to the east. They gradually drifted out of sight and into Prospect Park. It’s not unusual to see red-tails hunting over the neighborhood rooftops. I assume that they are looking for squirrels. During warm weather, when my wife and I relax on our roof, we frequently see squirrels using the attached buildings as their personal skyways. The local squirrels also use fire escapes, window sills and flower boxes for their leaf-lined dreys. While eating breakfast the other day we noticed one dragging leaves up the side of an adjacent building. He climbed behind the owner’s security gate and created a comfy nest between their kitchen window and the wrought iron bars.

High rent squirrel drey

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Friday, January 20, 2006


Late this afternoon I pedalled into the park to see if the Long-eared Owl was still hanging around. I was planning to remain near the roost until sunset and witness his fly-out. It was approximately 4:15pm when I left my home.

As I cruised passed the north end of the Long Meadow I noticed a bat flitting about. The recent string of unseasonably warm weather has activated dormant insects and the bat was taking advantage of the rare winter bounty. It was a Red Bat (Lasiurus borealis) and the late day sun made his luxurious, rusty fur glow orange. His small size and ability to make sudden, erratic changes in direction reminded me of a Chimney Swift (or is it that the swift reminds me of a bat).

It took me a long time to locate the owl. His cryptic brown pattern, breathless silence and dead stillness fused the soft bird with the tree’s rigid, wooden surface. I leaned my bicycle against a sapling and circled the roost tree several times. Standing on the northeast side of the tree I scanned light patches of sky passing through the canopy. Through one of the holes I spotted what looked like an inverted triangle extending below a thin branch. It seemed out of place and, on closer examination, turned out to be the lower half of the Long-eared Owl. I stepped back across the path and waited for the sun to set.

As I stood owl-like at the side of the path a flock of robins flew into the patch of woods. Some of the birds foraged in the understory while many others remained vigilant in the trees above. Fifteen minutes went by when suddenly the entire flock panicked and flew off towards the north. I looked around for a predator and spotted a Cooper’s Hawk coming my way. He landed in an oak tree directly above my head. I spent the next ten minutes splitting my time between watching the owl then the hawk. A cocky Downy Woodpecker tried to dissuade the hawk from using his tree as a roost. He flew back and forth over the hawk’s head while emitting a gentle “pik, pik, pik”. The Cooper’s Hawk ignored the small bird’s pathetic threats and the woodpecker eventually gave up and flew off. I assumed that the hawk was settling down for the night when he abruptly burst from his perch and headed towards a stand of pines. I heard the whinnying cry of a robin followed by silence. It appeared that the hawk captured his last meal of the day.

It was nearly 5:00pm on the dot when I noticed the owl moving. He fluffed his feathers and shook off the sleep. It was getting difficult to see details but I could at least tell that he was lifting his wings and preening. He turned around and faced south so I moved my position. At 5:20pm he flew from his roost a few yards to the south and perched on a narrow, broken branch on the side of a pine tree. His long, rounded wings and silent flight seemed moth-like. It was now too dark to see any details but the illuminated, city sky behind the owl created a perfect cookie-cutter silhouette. He frenetically jerked his head from side to side, his feathery “ears” flexing in the light breeze. A restless cardinal was still awake and alarmed by the owl. He sat in a low shrub and cried a loud, repeated “tik, tik, tik”. The owl didn’t seem to notice and continued energetically scanning the darkness. At 5:30pm he left his perch, silently threaded his way through tree branches and flew over my head on his way to work over the Nethermead Meadow.

I hopped on my bicycle and headed home. Near the maintenance garage I spooked a young cottontail. He had been nibbling on vegetation within the small, orange circle of light beneath a low street lamp. I thought to myself, this little bunny will have a much longer life if he learns to stay better hidden when the nightshift is working.

-Click here for a photo of a Long-eared Owl in flight-

- - - - -

Prospect Park, 1/20/2006
Pied-billed Grebe
Northern Shoveler
Bufflehead (3.)
Ruddy Duck
Cooper's Hawk (Adult, Lookout Hill.)
American Coot
Ring-billed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Long-eared Owl (1.)
Hairy Woodpecker (2.)
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch (3.)
Brown Creeper (1, Breeze Hill.)
American Robin (Flock of ~30-40.)
American Goldfinch (2.)

Other common species seen (or heard):
Canada Goose, Mallard, Herring Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, European Starling, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Pelagic Trip Announcement

If you've ever wanted to observe seabirds but aren't a strong swimmer this may interest you:

"Hi Rob,

As I mentioned earlier, Paul Guris and I are running a 'See Life Paulagic' trip to the Hudson Canyon on 11 Feb leaving from Freeport Long Island (just off the Meadowbrook Parkway near Cow Meadow).

We will be going out of the Jones Inlet and weather permitting heading to deeper water. Close views of Razorbills, Black-legged Kittiwakes and Northern Gannets are very likely, with a good chance of other winter goodies including the less common alcids (Dovekie, Thick-billed Murre, Atlantic Puffin or Common Murre), Manx Shearwater and possibly Great Skua.

Here is a link to Paul's announcement on NYSBIRDS-L:

Sign-up is a bit sluggish and I am wondering if that many folks in Brooklyn and NYC know about this exclusive opportunity to get offshore in New York waters? Other than risking a commerical fishing trip (not ideal) there aren't many other affordable options.

Would it be possible to include details on your citybirder blog?

Many thanks, Angus"

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A Long Weekend in the Adirondack North Country

After a three year hiatus from an annual winter trip to Franklin and Essex Counties I returned for some birding over the past weekend. I lead a group of birders from the Brooklyn Bird Club and hoped not only to locate some boreal species, but also enjoy some of the scenery on snowshoes. The weather was atypical for this time of year and, at times, downright bizarre. Saturday the high temperature was 51 degrees, Sunday the windchill was -22! We still managed to see some nice birds and test out our new winter gear.

Our itinerary included Croton Point Park, Fort Edward, Lake Placid (Chubb River, Adirondack Loj Road, Marcy Meadow, Riverside Drive), Bloomingdale Bog, Bigelow Road, Paul Smith VIC and Newcomb VIC.

A Fog Shrouded Croton Point Park

(Photo credit - Rob J)

We started the trip on Friday morning, January 13th. We drove to Croton Point Park for our first birding stop. A light fog made birding a challenge and we kept saying things like, “It looks like the fog is beginning to lift”. It never did and, in fact, got much worse as the morning progressed. If there were any Bald Eagles present we would have never seen them. Bulldozers working on the landfill grassland killed any chance to see Short-eared Owl. However, two bright spots here were three Eastern Meadowlarks and a sleeping Eastern Screech Owl. We continued north with tentative plans to stop at the Fort Edward area to look for Short-eared Owls.

Eastern Screech Owl (Megascops asio)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

We arrived at the open fields of Fort Edward when the sun was low in the sky. A single Short-eared Owl was perched at the very top of a small sapling. The setting sun cast an orange glow on the yellow-eyed bird. A light morph Rough-legged Hawk flew overhead and disappeared over the horizon. A second owl fluttered over the grass fields. There were also flocks of American Tree Sparrows in the area.

Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

-Click here for more info on Short-eared Owl-

I was concerned about the recent stretch of warm weather and decided to skip walking down the Chubb River on Saturday. It drizzled on and off most of the day so I opted to visit Paul Smith VIC for some feeder birding and snowshoeing. There weren’t very many birds at this location but the beauty of hiking the Boreal Life trail made up for it.

South Meadow Brook

(Photo credit - Rob J)

-Click here to learn about the Adirondacks-

A deer ribcage at the head of Bigelow Road attracted both Black-capped and Boreal Chickadee and several Gray Jays. The Gray Jays seemed more interested in checking us out than feeding on the deer. We circled Riverside Drive a couple of times and finally located a Northern Shrike perched very briefly at the top of a conifer. Thanks to a tip from Larry Master we were able to observe a large flock of Common Redpolls at his feeders.

Snowshoeing at Paul Smith

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Along the Boreal Life Trail

(Photo credit - Rob J)

The most active location of the trip was at the Newcomb VIC. We arrived before the center opened but a walk around to the back of the building revealed lots of hungry birds. The hanging feeders hadn’t been put out yet but platforms under the windows still contained some sunflower seeds. Between the non-stop visits from Black-capped Chickadees and Red-breasted Nuthatches was a male Pine Grosbeak. The radiant red bird elicited “oohs” and “aahs” from our whole group. He also had to share the seeds with several ill-tempered, chattering Red Squirrels.

The Pine Grosbeak departed just before the 9:00am center opening time. As the center’s manager was arriving to open the building a flock of Evening Grosbeaks suddenly appeared in the trees near the feeders. They’ve only been present for a couple of days but apparently have learned the feeder hanging schedule. At one point approximately 20 grosbeaks lined the railing of the deck holding the feeders.

-Click here for some Pine Grosbeak photos-

Evening Grosbeak (Coccothraustes vespertinus)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

-Click here for more info on Red Squirrels-

After a few hours at Newcomb we hit the road and began heading back to NYC. We decided to stop at Fort Edward for one last look. During this visit we counted four Short-eared Owls either perched or hunting over exposed patches of grass. While watching the activity we saw one owl suddenly drop to the ground and come up with what appeared to be a mouse. As he flew to a perch to enjoy his meal a dark morph Rough-legged Hawk arrived and began harassing the owl. The owl dropped his prey which was quickly retrieved by the dark bandit. Around fifteen minutes later we spotted one of the other owls with prey clutched in his talons. Unfortunately, the Rough-legged Hawk also noticed. They briefly tussled and the owl dropped his meal. The acrobatic hawk wheeled around, rapidly descended, snatched the prey in midair and flew off with his pilfered booty. The unexpected air show under a fiery setting sun was a great way to end our weekend.

-Click here for some photos of Rough-legged Hawks-

Fort Edwards grasslands

(Photo credit - Rob J)

- - - - -

Croton Point Park; Ft. Edward; Franklin & Essex County, 1/13/2006
Canada Goose
Mute Swan
Bufflehead (Croton Point Park.)
Hooded Merganser (Stream near 86 between Saranac & Paul Smith.)
Common Merganser (Croton Point Park.)
Bald Eagle (Flyover at junction of 86 & 3 in Saranac.)
Northern Harrier (Croton Point Park. Ft. Edward.)
Sharp-shinned Hawk (Croton Point Park.)
Cooper's Hawk (Croton Point Park.)
Red-tailed Hawk (~30-40 along the thruway.)
Rough-legged Hawk (Both dark & light morph, Ft. Edward.)
Ruffed Grouse (South Meadow Rd.)
American Coot (Croton Point Park.)
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Eastern Screech-Owl (Croton Point Park.)
Short-eared Owl (Ft. Edward.)
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker (Paul Smith.)
Pileated Woodpecker (Paul Smith.)
Northern Shrike (Riverside Dr.)
Gray Jay (Bigelow Rd., Stephenson’s feeder.)
Blue Jay
American Crow
Common Raven (Various locales.)
Horned Lark (~20, Ft. Edward.)
Black-capped Chickadee
Boreal Chickadee (Bigelow Rd.)
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Bigelow Rd., Newcomb VIC.)
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper (Paul Smith.)
Golden-crowned Kinglet (Paul Smith.)
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Northern Cardinal
American Tree Sparrow (Ft. Edward.)
Savannah Sparrow (Croton Pt., Ft. Edward.)
Song Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark (3, Croton Point Park.)
Pine Grosbeak (Newcomb VIC.)
Common Redpoll (~100, Lake Placid at Larry Master’s feeder.)
American Goldfinch (Croton Point Park.)
Evening Grosbeak (~20, Newcomb VIC.)
House Sparrow

I just returned from a four day trip to the Adirondacks. I'm sorting through my photos and should have a complete report up by tonight.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Long-eared Owl follow-up

I just received the following, wonderful e-mail from my friend, Mary:

"I arrived [in the park] before dark, and encountered Roberto Cavelleros who had spotted the bird. He set up his scope and we got pretty good looks. Then we just stood and waited, watching the owl wake up, preen its feathers, its talons, shake a leg, shake another leg, stretch a wing, etc. Then it hopped down a branch, then another so it was in the open (now around 5:15). As we watched it look around and prepare to fly, it suddenly just dropped out of the tree, gliding silently over our heads. It was amazing. Well worth the wait. We thought we saw it across the Butterfly Meadow a little while later, but not sure. This was magical.


Saturday, January 07, 2006

Goose Photos

Today I went back to Eisenhower Park with Steve, Heidi, Veery and Mary. The Barnacle Goose was still present, as well as, a Greater White-fronted Goose. Here are two photos taken by Steve:

Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis)

(Photo credit - Steve Nanz)

Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons )

(Photo credit - Steve Nanz)

Friday, January 06, 2006

The Raptor's Picnic

"If you got out to the woods today
You're sure of a big surprise..."

I was riding my bicycle down Center Drive when I heard an unusually noisy flock of Blue Jays off in the distance. Their sounds seemed to be concentrated in one spot and I noticed a few more jays flying over the meadow to join the squawking flock. I shifted gears and sped up, following the sound of the agitated birds. As I got close to the flock I dismounted and quietly walked with my bicycle at my side. Five or six jays in a large oak tree hopped from branch to branch, calling. Nearby a Hairy Woodpecker made a sharp “peek” and an unseen White-breasted Nuthatch cried out an odd, staccato, “nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah”. I assumed that the ruckus was motivated by a predator in the vicinity, but I couldn’t find him. Sometimes a feral cat will cause Blue Jays to exhibit this type of mobbing behavior but their focus was in the trees today, not on the ground.

I stayed in the area for about ten minutes and the birds eventually tired and flew off towards the Lullwater. There wasn’t any whitewash on the ground and I couldn’t find an owl or hawk in any of the trees. I circled the area one last time when a light patch in a conifer caught my eye. He was well hidden and, at first, all I could see was some brown spotting on a pale belly. I thought, “there you are”. A young couple walking passed gave me an odd look so maybe I actually said it out loud. It took me a couple of minutes to find the best vantage point but eventually I could see the whole face and fluttering “ears” of a Long-eared Owl. I backed off so I wouldn’t disturb him and dialed Sean on my cellphone. He arrived shortly, a little winded, and lugging his 40 pounds of camera equipment. We only stayed a short time then headed off towards the Breeze Hill feeders.

Long-eared Owl (Asio otus)

(Photo credit - Sean Sime)

As we approached the Terrace Bridge Sean stopped abruptly and told me not to move. An adult Cooper’s Hawk was perched in a tree at the edge of the bridge. Pigeons roost under the bridge and are constantly flying in and out from the safety of the iron structure. I assume the hawk was just waiting for one unwary pigeon to pass his way. He suddenly wheeled around and disappeared into the trees that line the Lullwater.

Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)

(Photo credit - Sean Sime)

At the shelter on the Peninsula point we watched a pair of Red-tailed Hawks circling in the air above Duck island. One bird was clutching something in his talons. We could hear them calling to each other. Walking to the lake overview on the “Thumb” we spotted a pile of feathers. I assumed that there had been a predator kill in that spot. There were a lot of feathers and it lead to the lifeless body of a Canada Goose. The bird had had most of its breast feathers plucked out and large pieces of the breast eaten. I felt like a crime scene investigator as I took out my camera and snapped a few photos of the evidence. I don’t think the goose was attacked by a dog as it wouldn’t have done such a neat job. A Canada Goose could probably kill a feral cat, so that leaves the usual suspects. Hawks. It seemed a little odd that just the breast had been eaten and the rest left behind but, then again, what hawk could fly off with an entire Canada Goose? It looked like a fresh kill so maybe he had planned on coming back for a midnight snack.

Goose remains

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Near the Wellhouse Sean spotted a Merlin flying east over the lake. I had seen one earlier perched in a tree at the edge of the Nethermead Meadow. She was watching a flock of foraging Mourning Doves. We continued walking along Wellhouse Drive towards West Lake Drive. I had planned on ending my day there and pedalling home. A juvenile Red-tailed Hawk perched at the base of Lookout Hill gave me an excuse to stay out a bit longer. He seemed very small, possibly a male, and unfazed by our presence. His laid-back attitude made me think that he was one of our urban hawks. With his back to the road, he scanned the tangled underbrush near lamppost J249. Like the local birders, he seemed to know that there is usually a lot of wildlife in this area.

Young Red-tailed Hawk

(Photo credit - Sean Sime)

- - - - -

Prospect Park, 1/6/2006
Pied-billed Grebe (1, Prospect Lake.)
Great Blue Heron (Upper pool.)
Snow Goose (1, Prospect Lake.)
Mute Swan (4, Prospect Lake.)
Northern Shoveler (~200, Prospect Lake.)
Bufflehead (2 males, Upper pool.)
Ruddy Duck (Fairly common, Prospect Lake.)
Cooper's Hawk (Terrace Bridge.)
Red-tailed Hawk (2 adults, 1 juvenile.)
Merlin (Center Dr.)
American Coot
Great Black-backed Gull (5, Prospect Lake.)
Mourning Dove (12, Nethermead Meadow.)
Long-eared Owl
Hairy Woodpecker (2, Lookout Hill & Ravine.)
Northern Flicker (Vale of Cashmere.)
Blue Jay (~10-15.)
Black-capped Chickadee (1.)
White-breasted Nuthatch (2.)
White-throated Sparrow (~10.)
Dark-eyed Junco (~20, Fallkill Falls.)

Other common species seen (or heard):
Canada Goose, American Black Duck, Mallard, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Rock Pigeon, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Cardinal

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Year Begins

Shane, Sean and I got together yesterday for a marathon day of Long Island birding. Heading out from Brooklyn at 5am, the plan was to drive straight to Montauk Point then gradually work our way back west. Three targeted species were Thick-bill Murre at Montauk, Greater White-fronted Goose at Hook Pond and Barnacle Goose at Eisenhower Park. We located all but the murre. It was my first day of birding in New York for 2006 so everything would be new and I was grateful for the invitation.

Montauk Point, early morning, looking east

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Visiting Montauk Point in the winter is always a thrill for me. Yesterday, large rafts of Common Eider intermingled with all three species of scoter and frequent, skittering, diving Razorbills. Passing seals and small numbers of Long-tailed Ducks added to a mainly black, brown and white seascape.

Common Eider (Somateria mollissima), male and female

(Photo credit - Sean Sime)

-Click here for more info on Common Eider-

Hook Pond held a huge number of Canada Goose. As we scanned their noisy numbers, more honking flocks seemed to arrive every few minutes. There were easily 4,000 birds at the west end of the pond. Shane was the first to locate a pair of Greater White-fronted Goose among the mass of geese. It was a life species for me and I would have liked to digiscope a shot. They were just too far away for a decent photo.

Canada Geese coming in for a landing at Hook Pond

(Photo credit - Rob J)

I would have never known of the existence of Seatuck Creek in Eastport had it not been for a Black-tailed Godwit sighting in 2001. On the opposite side of the road is “Lily Pond” (I think this is an unofficial name), an excellent spot for dabbling and diving ducks. We tallied 17 species of waterfowl at this location. Also at Lily Pond was a Belted Kingfisher and a hungry looking Red-tailed Hawk.

-Click here for more info on waterfowl-

We lucked out at Massapequa Preserve where we located 2 Virginia Rail rather quickly. One rail was calling from across a pond and to our left. A second rail flew from the right side and into a patch of phragmites next to us. It was the first time that I’ve actually seen a Virginia Rail flying. I followed him in my bins and was surprised how well this stubby-tailed, short-winged bird was able to sail across the water. I suppose I expected a less graceful performance.

Our final stop was at a pond in Eisenhower Park in East Meadow. We were hoping to find a Barnacle Goose that had been seen on the Nassau County Christmas Count. Rain had begun to fall but we found temporary shelter beneath the branches of a large Holly tree. From the edge of the pond it took us only a few minutes to locate the bird within a large flock of Canada Goose. The bird’s beautify, creamy facial pattern, black bib and barred back made him stand out among the common geese. He seemed perfectly at home among the Canada Geese.

When I returned to my apartment I researched Barnacle Goose sightings in New York State in “Bull’s Birds of New York State”, as well as, the website for the New York State Avian Records Committee. It appears that it is very difficult to differentiate an escaped, non-wild bird from a genuinely extralimital, wild bird. Would a captive raised individual avoid (or be avoided by) wild flocks of birds? I imagine that the presence of some type of band would be helpful but the bird we observed was in the water, its legs hidden from view. I'll post more information later.

- - - - -

Montauk Pt., Shinnecock Inlet, Dune Rd., Hook Pond, Eastport (“Lily Pond”), Massapequa Preserve,
Eisenhower Park,
Red-throated Loon
Common Loon
Horned Grebe
Northern Gannet
Great Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Greater White-fronted Goose (Hook Pond, East Hampton.)
Canada Goose
Barnacle Goose (Eisenhower Pk., East Meadow.)
Mute Swan
Wood Duck
American Wigeon
American Black Duck
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Ring-necked Duck
Greater Scaup
Lesser Scaup
Common Eider
Surf Scoter
White-winged Scoter
Black Scoter
Long-tailed Duck
Common Goldeneye
Hooded Merganser
Common Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Red-tailed Hawk
Peregrine Falcon
Virginia Rail (At least 2, Massapequa Preserve, Massapequa.)
American Coot
Ring-billed Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull (Montauk Pt.)
Great Black-backed Gull
Belted Kingfisher
Northern Flicker
Black-capped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
House Finch
American Goldfinch

Other common species seen (or heard):
Herring Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Downy Woodpecker, Blue Jay, American Crow, American Robin, European Starling, Northern Cardinal, Song Sparrow, House Sparrow