For whatever it's worth, my understanding is the very conservative 
Massachusetts records committee is also firmly opposed to accepting 
Barnacle goose.  I've been told that one of the reasons is that these 
birds are widely kept in private -- often illegal and therefore unbanded 
-- collections of exotics and frequently escape.

(Can't personally verify either of the above, just repeating what I've 
been told by more knowlegeable people.)

I wonder about the issue of feather wear as a determinant.  I would 
think the presence of a particular pattern would be a pretty good 
indication that the bird is a recent escape, but unless I'm 
undereducated on the subject, I don't see how its absence can prove it's 
not, since over time, the damaged feathers would be replaced, and even 
the behavior would become more "wild" after a couple of years of 
associating with a wild flock, wouldn't it?

If the default assumption of records committees is that a Barnacle is an 
escape unless proven otherwise, is the only acceptable proof of wild 
origin then a band recovery?


Thomas Ford-Hutchinson wrote:

> I know from experience from birding in Pennsylvania that Barnacle  Geese 
> are not accepted on the records committee there even if they  "display" 
> all the aspects of being wild.  I think its more of an  issue of whether 
> the ABA accepts the fact that Barnacle Geese can  appear in the 
> North-East.  I have seen about 3-4 Barnacle Geese in PA  but I don't 
> think that any of the records were accepted.  The recent  banded 
> specimen collected is an interesting issue and my personal  opinion is 
> that Barnacle geese are vagrants to this area but it more  of an issue 
> of the amount of evidence for them to travel here unaided.
> Other Birding Notes
> Had a TV fly over the Davis Center on the UVM Campus last Wed.
> Yesterday in the Fog I had a flock of 50 Snow Geese Fly over U-Heights
> Last Sunday I went up to Moose Bog and found lifer White-wing  
> Crossbills and Boreal    
>     Chickadees, also had many Pine Siskens and a probable Spruce Grouse  
> that we heard         flush but did not see.  Someone else had 2 Black- 
> backed woodpeckers, Evening             Grosbeak, and Grey Jay.
> Thomas Ford-Hutchinson
> On Mar 28, 2007, at 8:57 AM, Allan Strong wrote:
>> Hi Hector,
>> Sounds good to me (please put this in your write up).  My only  issue 
>> with your logic is whether or not the "default" should be  "wild" for 
>> species commonly kept in captivity.  I'm not sure the  committee has 
>> an official stance here.  Perhaps other folks on the  committee would 
>> like to weigh in.
>> Allan
>> At 08:30 AM 3/28/2007 -0500, you wrote:
>>> Allan,
>>> Re the barnacle goose: my personal philosophy about potential  
>>> escapes is
>>> that, unless a bird is wildly unlikely to be a genuine vagrant,  then it
>>> should only be considered of uncertain origin IF it actually bears  some
>>> signs of captivity (feather wear, leg bands, unusual behavior,  
>>> etc.). If
>>> it is not wildly unlikely, its remiges and retrices are not badly  worn,
>>> it has been keeping company with other birds that may denote its
>>> origins, and its behavior is "natural", then the "default" attitude
>>> should be that it is most likely to be wild.
>>> The barnie satisfies the last four criteria: no signs of feather  
>>> wear or
>>> leg bands, associating with a huge flock of canadas (many of them
>>> lessers), greater white-fronts, snows, and a cackling goose or  two. 
>>> Also
>>> the barnie, like the rest of the geese in the flock is highly nervous
>>> about humans - very difficult to get closer than a few hundred yards.
>>> This is one where I would say that a captive origin is unlikely.
>>> FYI, Dick Veit wrote an interesting article for Bird Observer  recently
>>> about the whole issue of how we should regard potential "escapes". I
>>> think that he makes a good deal of sense.
>>> Hector Galbraith PhD
>>> Galbraith Environmental Sciences LLC
>>> 837 Camp Arden Rd., Dummerston, VT05301
>>> 802 258 4836 (phone)
>> *******************************************************************
>> Allan M. Strong
>> University of Vermont
>> The Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources
>> 347 Aiken Center
>> Burlington, VT 05405
>> 802-656-2910
>> *******************************************************************