Courting Barrow’s Goldeneyes

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The majority of Barrow’s goldeneyes (Bucephala islandica) breed in Northwestern North America. (Small populations also breed in Eastern Canada and Iceland.) These ducks move slightly south into the Pacific Northwest during the winter. Between December and April, Barrow’s goldeneyes form … Continue reading

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Snow or Ross’s Goose?

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The two white Arctic geese look very similar and are difficult to tell apart, particularly in single species flocks or as individuals. Both the snow goose (Chen caerulescens) and the Ross’s goose (Chen rossii) are white with black primaries (wing … Continue reading

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Blue Morph Ross’s Goose

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A rare blue morph of the Ross’s goose (Chen rossii) exists. The origin of this blue morph is uncertain. It might be due to hybridization with the snow goose blue morph (Chen caerulescens)¬†or recurrent mutations of Ross’s goose genes controlling … Continue reading

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Ross’s Goose

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The smallest of the white Arctic geese, Ross’s geese (Chen rossii) look like miniature versions of the more common snow goose (Chen caerulescens – see my 02-16-12 post). Ross’s geese are about 40% smaller than snow geese. Where the two … Continue reading

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Mouse on the Menu

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It was barely dawn when I noticed a coyote (Canis latrans) hunting in the pasture outside our bedroom window (Modoc County CA). Leonard and I watched Mr. Coyote for about 45 minutes as he stalked meadow mice near the house. … Continue reading

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Migrating Sandhill Cranes

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Except for three subspecies resident to Mississippi, Florida and Cuba, sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis) migrate between southern United States and northern Mexico in the winter and northern North America in the summer. Sandhill cranes usually live in pairs or small … Continue reading

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Philopatry

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Philopatry is the tendency of an animal to remain in or return to the area of its birth to breed. With time, philopatry has also begun to mean an animal returning to the same place to breed even if it … Continue reading

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