Published on: June 17, 2016 | Last Updated: June 17, 2016 5:06 PM PDT
A goose sporting a strange collection of feathers is making for an odd duck in the West End.
The goose, sighted this week in the company of Canada geese at Sunset Beach, features an unusual pattern of white and darker feathers.
One theory is that it is leucistic, a term that describes a pigment abnormality falling short of albinism.
Another theory is that the bird is a hybrid love child, perhaps the result of the union of a Canada goose and a domestic goose or similar species.
“I don’t have much of a back story,” Greg Hart, urban wildlife programs coordinator for the Stanley Park Ecology Society, said Friday. “It’s just a neat bird that showed up.”
He sees reports of similar birds showing up in the region about once a year, each time sparking the leucistic-versus-hybrid debate on bird forums. “Typically, field marks are what you use to identify these birds,” he said. “This, of course, is displaying field marks that don’t fit any bird. That’s the quandary.”
George Clulow, immediate past president of B.C. Field Ornithologists, said that based on photos provided by The Vancouver Sun, the bird may even have some DNA of a swan goose (a wild species that breeds in China and Russia, but is also domesticated) or Asian domestic goose.
“Upright posture, long neck, bill colour/shape and foot colour are all suggestive of this to me,” he said. “Other parent perhaps Canada goose.”