I like photographing oddball geese when the opportunity is there. Many are 
quite interesting looking and get you wondering about the genetics. The 
Canarsie Pier birds are certainly that (and beautiful), but I can’t see much 
about them that says Brant. Anyway, I deliberately discounted oddballs from the 
discussion. Who knows what’s going on with them? If we focus on undeniably wild 
birds, especially the Greenland / Old World vagrants (and maybe we should add 
unmated), how many site fidelters (my new term) are we left with? It would make 
sense that in following winters, a once vagrant Pink-footed Goose, for example, 
gets it right and follows a flock of Pink-footed Geese to the correct wintering 




From: Timothy Healy [mailto:tp...@cornell.edu] 
Sent: Tuesday, December 31, 2019 5:00 PM
To: Steve Walter <swalte...@verizon.net>
Cc: NYSBIRDS <nysbird...@list.cornell.edu>
Subject: Re: [nysbirds-l] Awareness - Site Fidelity


While Steve is correct that wintering geese are often highly mobile, traveling 
large distances between roosting lakes and feeding grounds throughout each 
winter, I know of four additional birds at two additional sites that have shown 
strong sight fidelity. I have documented the return of a recognizable 
individual Cackling Goose and an associated Canada (possible mate?) at 
Hendrickson Park in Nassau for four winters now. Many Brooklyn borders are 
familiar of course with the pair of Brant x Snow Goose hybrids (affectionately 
dubbed “Bro Geese”) at Canarsie Pier. There are exceptions to every rule!



-Tim H

On Dec 31, 2019, at 4:12 PM, Steve Walter <swalte...@verizon.net 
<mailto:swalte...@verizon.net> > wrote:

I have to disagree in the case of wintering geese. I don’t keep tabs on every 
rare goose that turns up on Long Island. I best remember those on the western 
part of the island, especially those that I’ve photographed. Looking at my 
records of photographed rarities (and even Snow Geese in unusual places), and 
to the best of my recollection otherwise, I can’t find examples of geese that 
have returned to the same site in a following winter – but for one exception. 
This was the believed to be Brant – Cackling Goose hybrid that returned to 
Flushing Meadows for many years. What’s more, it appears to me that geese will 
relocate during the same winter. Lots of examples of rarities first appearing 
at a site in mid-winter, while others disappear. 


That said, it should be expected that in highly favored congregation points – a 
Belmont Lake for example – more total geese would lead to a greater chance of a 
same rare species reoccurrence (which might or might not be the same 


One could also pay attention to banded Canada Geese. I sort of do, but I don’t 
have well organized records to refer to at the moment.



Steve Walter


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