Barnacle Geese in Winter

Barnacle geese

One of my favourite things about winter is finding flocks of geese that have come here to over-winter. Spending a lot of my life on the east coast means I am much more familiar with brent geese and pink-footed geese, so it was a welcome sight to encounter large flocks of barnacle geese at RSPB Mersehead in Dumfries and Galloway the other day.

Seven facts about barnacle geese

The Barnacle Goose is a medium-sized goose with a wingspan of 130-145 cm and a body mass of 1.21-2.23 kg. Here are seven interesting facts about the Barnacle Goose:

1. The Barnacle Goose is named after a myth that it hatches from barnacles attached to ships.

2. The Barnacle Goose is one of the smallest geese, with a relatively small, rounded head and a very short bill.

3. The Barnacle Goose is a winter visitor to the UK, in particular, and grazes on vegetation such as roots, stems, leaves, and seeds.

4. The Barnacle Goose is a sociable goose that flies in packs and long lines, with a noisy chorus of barking or yapping sounds.

5. The Barnacle Goose is classified in the UK as Amber under the Birds of Conservation Concern 5: the Red List for Birds (2021).

6. The Barnacle Goose has an average lifespan of 14 years.

7. The Barnacle Goose is a migratory bird that nests in Greenland and Svalbard and spends the winter in Scotland, northern England, and Ireland.