Sunday, March 29, 2015

Feeding lettuce to the birds, and an Egyptian goose

Tried today to feed Hillsborough Park's geese, ducks and coots with lettuce, and some grass.  They were underwhelmed, it has to be said.   One Canada goose came up to us, hissed at the coots that were near it, and when they went away, ignored the lettuce we had put on the path.   Some of the coots did peck at it a bit, but did not look as keen as they do when you have bread.

What was happening?   Was it the rain?   Are they so used to bread that they only want bread?  Were they already full?  Was there something about the lettuce?

More research needed, I think.  

Meanwhile, here is one of the recently arrived Egyptian geese:  

Just under a fortnight ago, I was walking through the park when a pair of these circled two or three times, and then landed, one on the water, and one on the shore.  Then, one of them flew across the lake to the shore where I was standing.

They have been there each day I have looked since, sometimes two, sometimes, like today, one.  

According to the RSPB, the Egyptian goose, revered in Ancient Egypt, is more often seen in Norfolk, although it is known elsewhere.   The excellent ARKive has more worldwide information.   The GB Non Native Species Secretariat website has a document that explains how this goose was introduced into England in the 17th century and became a popular choice for private estates in the 19th, in the south and east of England, from where it has been spreading.  A very attractive bird, but it is an offence to introduce it (this does not stop it introducing itself, I imagine!).   The Sheffield Bird Study Group has been recording sightings of 1 or 2 in Hillsborough Park, including one there today.

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