Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2010-09

Common name:

Cackling Goose

Scientific name: Branta hutchinsii
Date: March 8, 2010
Time: 2:30 pm
Length of time observed: 1.5 hours
Number: 1
Location: Skipper Bay Trail, Utah Lake
County: Utah
Elevation: 4500 ft
Distance to bird: 50 Yards
Optical equipment: Kowa TSN-823 spotting Scope 20x60 zoom
Weather: Partly Cloudy
Light Conditions: Good, sun at my back
Description:        Size of bird: Very small goose size.
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Goose shape. (Long neck, heavy body.)
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Black Neck with white cheek. Brown body. White rump and undertail. Black tail.
(Description:)            Bill Type: Short goose bill.
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Short neck, short head and short bill (when compared to Canada Goose). Bill less than half the length of the head. Brown of breast, back and side almost uniform. Darkest on breast, flight feathers and behind the legs on the sides where it contrasted with the white undertail area. Color warmer on breast (hard to see on photos). Pale feather edging on back and faint pale bars on sides. There was a thin white neck ring on front of neck only, with a sharp line of contrast between white of 'ring' and brown of breast. White cheek narrowed and curved slightly back at top. No chinstrap.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: None
Behavior: Feeding in Field
Habitat: Flooded Pastures near the shore of Utah Lake
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Canada Goose was eliminated by size and shape.

This goose was at least half the size of the surrounding Canada Geese. Close in size to the Ross's Goose.

Compared to the canadas this bird had a much shorter, rounder head and a tiny, stubby bill. The breast of this bird was also darker.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
References consulted: Various web pages. Sibley guide to birds.
Description from: Notes taken at time of sighting
Observer: Eric Huish
Observer's address: 850 E 100 North Pleasant Grove Ut, 84062
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: This bird was first reported by Carl Ingwell, Jeff Bilsky and Steve and Cindy Sommerfeld on March 6th. Ned Bixler saw it on the 8th. KC Childs saw it on the 9th. And I'm sure others have seen it.
Date prepared: March 10, 2010
Additional material: Photos
Additional_Comments: Photos where taken with camera held up to spotting scope. My view through the scope was much clearer than these photos.