White Canada goose spotted in Winnipeg park
Goose spotted at John Forsyth Park white due to 'partial loss of pigment,' biologist says
It isn't a snow goose, and it isn't albino, but a Canada goose spotted in Winnipeg last weekend is definitely white.
Radio-Canada's Christianne Hacault was in John Forsyth Park last Sunday when she noticed an anomaly in the crowd of geese foraging in a field.
At first glance, it looks like an albino Canada goose; it has the characteristic black head and body shape. But Christian Artuso with Bird Studies Canada says appearances can be deceiving.
Leucism occurs when there is a "partial loss of pigment or loss of some pigments in some body parts," Artuso says. That's why in the goose pictured the honker retains its black neck and head, but its body is white.
In albino individuals, a complete loss of melanin leads to birds that are completely white, lack their normal colours and have red eyes.
As fall migration ramps up, it's a great time for Manitoba birders to head out to places like Fort Whyte Alive and Oak Hammock Park.
"The odds are small," Artuso says, "but you might get lucky" and see one of these genetic rarities in flight.