Posted by: atowhee | February 12, 2021


This photo of an Egyptian Goose was sent to me by Yani Sinanoglou, a college friend from over fifty years ago, now resident in Dulwich, south London. He took this picture in Dulwich Park near his home,. Like the non-migratory Canada Goose in North America, this species has been spread far and wide by human intervention, both intentional and heedless.

Here is fairly current range map of the species’ breeding range now:

Here is one description of the species’ spread from the Internet: “A native of sub-tropical Africa the Egyptian goose was brought to Britain in the late 17th century as an ornamental bird for the lakes of country gentlemen. Its attraction is its apricot breast, white wing patch and the dark brown patches over its eyes that make it look as if it is wearing dark glasses.”
I saw them in most Frankfurt city parks over 15 years ago. They are successfully settled un the fens of England’s Norfolk as well.
In London proper the two most successful introduced species (besides Rock Pigeon) seem to be Mandarin Ducks and Ring-necked Parakeets (first noted in London n the 1960s). The latter originated in Pakistan.

Not all introductions of the species were deliberate, e.g. “In the early 1990s, Egyptian Geese were introduced into Florida when individuals escaped from private bird fancier’s collections, perhaps from hurricane-damaged enclosures, or through intentional releases.

More input from Yani on “his” Egyptian Geese: “The RSPB guide (2002 edition) says that they were introduced to England as ‘decorative’ birds without giving dates.  When the book was researched/updated, nearly 20 years ago, they were said to be largely in Eastern England. We usually see them in pairs, as in the attached photo, also with goslings. They’ve been around Dulwich for at least 3-4 years.”

My Lewes correspondent, Joss Makin, reports there is a Northern Mockingbird in Devon right now. First reported in England since the 1980s. Covid lockdown means many twitchers (birders who chase rarities) are home, grinding their teeth. One could say his presence is mocking them.
I wrote back to Joss: “The Mocker comes from a family of birds native to the Western Hemisphere…he sings like your Song Thrush, a professional mimic who even does chainsaws, car engines and slamming doors, along with most of the local birds. Not very dramatic to look at but makes up for it with great music (sings at night like your blackbird) and flashy flights where he signals “beware” with his built-in semaphore, the gray and white tail. With climate change the Mockingbird has expanded his range northward across North America, does well around people.”
It is likely the nearest breeding locations for the mockingbird are in New Brunswick…t’other side of “The Pond” as we Anglophiles like to call the Atlantic.

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