Should We be Worried?

As I blogged last week I birded the Lake Michigan Lakefront with Don and Aidan a few weeks ago. While at the Port of Indiana we heard the sound of an odd goose which Don identified as an Egyptian Goose.  An odd-looking bird which we laughed at both its appearance and call.

But inside I was worried, really worried.

And it was all the fault of Jochen blogging at 10,000 Birds.

As the goose flew by I couldn’t help but remember his story. How there were no Egyptian Geese in Germany 30 years ago and now they’re present in most of the country. I know we only saw one Egyptian Goose, but I’m sure some birder in Germany said the same thing 30 years ago. One innocent Egyptian Goose and 30 years later they are everywhere in Germany.

Since photos aren’t allowed at the Port of Indiana, here are some photos from Wikipedia with references.

Egyptian Goose
Egyptian Goose – By Andreas Trepte – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=788401
Egyptian-Goose Flight
Egyptian Goose in flight. By Andreas Trepte – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6113830

And what about the recent decision of the ABA to add the Egyptian Goose to the ABA list after Florida included them on their state list? I know, they currently don’t have a large presence but we have heard that story before.

So should we really be worried?

First, we know about the rise of the Canada Goose in the US. They weren’t here in great numbers 30 years ago but with the dramatic increase of suburbia and the ensuing retention ponds and short grass, they are now everywhere. And if I read correctly the Egyptian Goose thrives on the same type of habitat.

Secondly Germany’s climate is similar to the Midwest’s. So I don’t see that as a reason it would stop their advancement north.

And the English Channel didn’t stop them from sweeping across the UK as seen in this article.  Plus this article shows they are already in the Midwest in limited numbers.

Looking at the eBird map of Egyptian Goose there really aren’t many except in the warmer parts of the country.  But probably like many birders I never record anything in eBird not included on my state or ABA list.  It just causes too many headaches remembering what to add or take out.  So maybe there are a lot more and we just don’t know it?

Egyptian Goose
As seen by purple on this eBird Species Map, the Egyptian Goose is concentrated in the warmer parts of the US – Florida, Texas, California. At least for now.

So I wonder if we really have something to worry about. Probably not but I can’t help wonder if my daughter will be writing about the spread of the Egyptian Goose 30 years from now?

5 Replies to “Should We be Worried?”

  1. I remember reading that article the other day, too. Egyptian geese potentially becoming an invasive species is difficult to say at this time. A non-native species is not necessarily invasive, but, under certain conditions, may undergo a population explosion. Similarly, a native species can become invasive by expanding into non-native areas and exploiting limited resources (see: The Spotted Owls’ New Nemesis). This will be interesting to see how future urban expansion and/or climate change will affect those native and non-native invasive species’ ranges. As of now, I think I would show more concern over mute swans, which continue to be a growing concern, especially around the Great Lakes.

    1. Thanks for the comment Andy. With the Mute Swan I have just one more thing to worry about. 🙂 Seriously, you’re right about the Mute Swan. It’ll be interesting to see their impact over the next few years. And thanks for the link on the Spotted Owl. I really hadn’t thought about native species having a population explosion outside of geese.
      But I’ll still keep an eye out for Egyptian Geese.

    1. Thanks for leaving a comment. As I stated in the article if history is any indication you’ll start seeing more in Northern Indiana. Which can be good or bad from your point of view.

      1. I’m in Crown Point, Indiana, too, and have been seeing the goose periodically for the last few months and have taken many photos. I also came across this article looking for information about leg banding. He/she has a leg band, which means SOME natural organization is aware of him/her. 🙂 It hangs around with a group of Canada Geese, which is cute to watch. I’d feel sad if it was alone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *