Updated Feb 5; Posted Feb 5
A bird native to sub-Saharan Africa, but also widely distributed as a domesticated species, has been spotted and photographed in Marysville along the Susquehanna River.
The Egyptian goose, which was seen on Sunday afternoon but not since, is “a common captive in collections at ornamental lakes and waterparks,” according to eBird, a birders’ reporting site that has recorded 4 sightings of the species in the wild in Pennsylvania since 2004.
The lone specimen likely is an escapee from a domestic flock, rather than having found its way to Pennsylvania from Africa or Europe, where the species is considered a high-risk invasive and control methods are generally prescribed.
The earliest reports of Egyptian geese in North America were recorded in 1877 and 1900, and those birds were at first considered to have reached our shores naturally. But further consideration tagged the birds as escapes, as the species was commonly held in captive collections and many were imported to the U.S. around the time of those first sightings.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology notes, “As an exotic species, there is much concern over the potential economic, ecological and social impacts that the Egyptian Goose may have in North America. Even in their native range of Africa, they are considered pests due to their willingness to eat farmer’s crops and their prevalence on golf courses.