This afternoon I stopped by in front of the Chocolate Factory in Hershey, PA to scan through the Canada Geese. There were a total of 1047 geese present. Instantly two white geese caught my eye. I figured they were going to be Snow Geese, but once I got a better look I realized they were leucistic Canada Geese – almost pure albino, but not quite.
There was also a “Dusky” Canada Goose (Branta canadensis occidentalis) which is a rare susbpecies of the Canada Goose. According to the National Biological Information Infrastructure; “Dusky Canada geese breed almost exclusively in the Copper River Delta area of south-central Alaska and winter predominantly in coastal areas of Oregon and Washington. Never abundant, numbers of Dusky Canada Geese have gradually declined following the effects of an earthquake in 1964 that substantially uplifted their Alaska breeding habitat. This elevation change led to less frequent tidal flooding, replacement of open habitat by shrubs and trees, and subsequent increases in predator abundance. Reproductive success has been reduced over time due to predation of nests, goslings, and adults by mammalian and avian predators, particularly Bald Eagles.”