Earlier this week, social media was a “flutter” on several birding social media sites when the Mountain Brook Animal Control posted a photo and comment about a Snow Goose that had landed in Mountain Brook Village.
Below is the post on Facebook:
“A rare sight for Mountain Brook! At first glance, you may think this is a duck. It’s actually a wild Snow Goose! It has decided to take up residence right outside of Mtn. Brook Village in a heavily traveled area.
We’re working with the USDA to make sure he/she is healthy and able to be reunited with others.
Please use caution while driving in this area!”
We asked Alabama Audubon executive director Dr. Scot Duncan about the discovery, what the life of a Snow Goose is like and why the bird may have landed in Mountain Brook.
Duncan: It is very exciting to have a Snow Goose visiting Birmingham—Snow Geese breed in the farthest northern reaches of Canada before migrating south for the winter.
Many Snow Geese spend the winter at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge near Decatur, AL, but very few come farther south.
Bham Now: Why is this bird special?
Duncan: One of the many reasons this bird is so special is that it is unusual to see only a single, lone goose. The species in general is very gregarious, and flocks can be thousands strong in some areas of the U.S.
Bham Now: What should you do if you see the Snow Goose?
Duncan: While the bird may look tame, this is a wild bird that is likely recovering from migration and really needs rest. So, if you are lucky enough to see it, please give it space. Since Snow Geese are vegetarians, this one is likely feeding on the grasses near the pond.
Bham Now: How did this one get lost?
Duncan: Snow Geese come in two different color forms—the light form is white with black wingtips, while the so-called “blue goose,” has a mixture of blacks, grays, and white. Interestingly, Snow Geese will mate for life and they only pair off with a goose of the same color form. The bird spotted in Birmingham likely lost its mate, but we hope it finds a new match this spring on its migration back north.
Hopefully, Mountain Brook Animal Control, which is working closely with the USDA, can return this wayward bird. Please also note, from the Facebook comment—Animal Control assures residents the USDA is not going to euthanize the bird.
Want to Learn More About Birds?
If all this talk about birds has got you interested in our feathered friends, check out the Alabama Audubon. The state’s oldest conservation organization, holds several events every month online and out in the field. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram.