What’s a Rare Goose — Native to Greenland — Doing in Kentucky?
Turkeys say a little prayer, cross their fingers--or whatever passes for fingers, and avoid hunters and traffic all in the hopes of making it past the fourth Thursday in November unscathed. Think about Mason the Masonville Turkey...still going strong a month later.
Geese, I would think, are far less concerned when it comes to Christmas. They might look over their shoulder--or whatever passes for shoulders, but, although "Christmas goose" is a thing, how many people REALLY eat goose for Christmas? I know they do, but it can't possibly be as common as Turkey on Thanksgiving.
LET'S TALK TURKEY ABOUT THE RARE PINK-FOOTED GOOSE
So, despite the fact that Kentucky is chock full of hunters, a rare breed of goose has made its way to the Commonwealth on multiple occasions over the last couple of months. It's the pink-footed goose, and it's a rare occurrence for the Greenland native to even be here.
Yes, that was in November in Shelbyville. (I wonder if it ran into Ethan Hawke.) Anyway, this beautiful bird from the VERY upper portion of the Northern Hemisphere was also spotted in December, and this time in Nicholasville which is in Jessamine County, near Lexington.
THE PINK-FOOTED GOOSE'S TYPICAL MIGRATORY TRAJECTORY
While Kentucky is home to many a non-native species, they don't often get here on their own. So, with the pink-footed goose, we're talking about migration, meaning they're not here to stay. But even THAT explanation comes with question marks based on what the Audubon Society tells us:
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.
Well, it looks as if the experts at the Audubon Society might need to amend that assessment, as we have now had TWO sightings of the rare goose in the Commonwealth.
Here they are in all their pink-footed, honking glory.
UNUSUAL BIRD SIGHTINGS AREN'T THAT UNUSUAL IN KENTUCKY
I'm not exactly sure when it was, but several years ago--after a major weather event--there were more seagulls in the Towne Square Mall parking lot than you could shake a stick at. Having zero expertise, I just surmised they'd been blown off course by whatever storm it was that I cannot remember. And it's happened again since then and in Glasgow where an enormous flock of seagulls was photographed at a shopping center there.
I guess birds don't rely on text books, ornithological studies, or encyclopedia articles to determine where and when they travel. So keep a sharp eye out; there could be a strange non-native bird in your backyard right now.
Grab the binoculars and a good camera and have some fun.