Egyptian Geese – I’m Still Worried

As noted in a previous post I’m worried about Egyptian Geese becoming as widespread as Canada Geese in the Midwest. I know I need to forget about it but after our London trip I’m still troubled.

Egyptian Geese
A pair of Egyptian Geese on the Round Pond in front of Kensington Palace. London, UK 4/2/16

On our trip the Egyptian Goose was widespread in city parks. About as numerous as the Canada Geese which are also widespread. I didn’t note how many of each but it seemed about equal.

London Bar Chart
This eBird bar chart shows Canada Geese are a predominant species in Greater London as shown by the thick green bar. Egyptian Geese are not as abundant but is still a common species – thinner green bar.
Egyptian Goose graph
These graphs show how much faster Egyptian Geese have taken hold in the UK as opposed to Canada Goose. Doesn’t the Canada Goose graph reminds me of its rise in the US? Source: The effect on the environment of Great Britain’s naturalized Greater Canada Branta canadensis and Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiacus Rehfisch et al. 2010. BOU Proceedings – The Impacts of Non-native Species. http://www.bou.org.uk/bouproc-net/non-natives/rehfisch-etal.pdf

The other thing I noticed is Egyptian Geese are a tree-dwelling species and like to nest in large holes in trees. I saw them several times in the trees around the parks. Maybe this will be our saving grace since the industrial complexes where the Canada Geese abound are to new for trees. However in a few years when the trees mature, they might start to spread.

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One of several pairs of Egyptian Geese nesting in the trees at Hyde Park. London, UK 4/2/16

I thought I took more photos but I think I was after other species. If you want to see Egyptian Geese or want to check out the parks, see Ralph Hancock’s Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park birds.

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?