Cackling Goose

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Cackling Goose: for more photos, see Sitka Nature Photo Gallery for Branta hutchinsii
Locale   Sp     Su     F     W     Br  
SE Alaska (edit) U R U VR -
Yakutat (edit) FC -  ? - -
Skagway (edit) - - - - -
Haines (edit) R - R - -
Glacier Bay (edit) U VR U - -
Juneau (edit) O + O - -
Sitka (edit) U - U VR -
Stikine (edit)
S Outer Islands (edit)
Ketchikan (edit)  ? -  ? - -
Offshore (edit)
Cackling Goose (Branta hutchinsii): Probably Uncommon in migration (apart from upper Juneau and northern Lynn Canal, where they are probably Rare at best), and Very Rare in Fall and Winter.
  • Main migration timing?
  • High counts and/or significant staging areas?
  • Subspecies notes? Small to medium-sized flocks of both Aleutian subspecies and minima go through Sitka

SEAK QBR Mentions:

  • Sp2009: Likely Uncommon to Common Spring migrant. Earliest arrivals 15 April with 10 at GUS. 21 April with 5 at KTN. Small numbers found at GUS, JNU, SIT max count 20 at GUS on 29 April. At KTN on 25 April, large flight (8800) of geese, include at least 1000 minima Cackling Geese, many other white-cheeked geese similar in size to GWFG, which may have been Cackling Geese. Latest reports 16 May at SIT, 17 May at KTN and GUS.
  • Su2009: One at JNU 12 June was late. This species probably very rare or casual in region.
  • F2009: Likely Uncommon in Fall, but [due to recency of split] status is not well known. Most probably overfly region, can be difficult to ID with certainty. Small taverni or parvipes reported a JNU 24 Aug - 13 Sept, with max 65 on 9 Sept. Three Aleutian Cackling Geese at SIT 31 Oct-9 Nov and at KTN four 3-12 Nov plus six on 10 Nov.
  • Sp2010: Recorded in region between 25 April and 25 May. First week of KTN flying over KTN, 150 on 3 May, 350 on 5 May. Small numbers on ground at KTN, Mitkof I., SIT, GUS, JNU max 40 at GUS on 15 May, 35 at JNU 18 May. Observations since split suggest Uncommon to Fairly Common in Spring with peak movement from late April to mid-May, often with GWFG.
  • Su2010: Late flock at GUS 24 on 1 June, with one on 2 June. One at JNU 6 June.
  • F2010: Observed in KTN mid-October with flocks of CAGO. At GUS 3 Oct - 12 Nov (max 3), at SIT 31 Oct - 16 Nov (max 15) , and one near JUN 15 Oct.
  • Sp2011: Fairly common spring migrant with peak from late April to mid-May. Reported in JNU 10 Apr-20 May. GUS 22 Apr - 29 May, KTN 21 Apr - 18 May. One Aleutian Cackling Goose at KTN 9-17 April was rare and very early.
  • Sp2012: One at GUS on 9 April was early. Otherwise reported in small numbers 15 April through end of period (max 80 in GB on 6 May)
  • Su2012: Late birds at GUS included 16 on 1 June and a single bird 29 June. Stragglers are rare in SEAK during the summer. Only two prior summer records from GUS+GB area.
  • F2012: Small numbers at GUS mid-September - 22 Nov (max 24 on 14 Oct). At SIT 19 Oct - 28 Nov (max 15 on 15 Nov).
  • Sp2013: Strong migration included new high counts at GUS (18 April+) and JNU (26 Apr - 21 May). Max at JNU 400 on 27 Apr (double previous high). 100-200 regularly in GUS during peak, max 300 on 30 April, and 225 on 1 May. Max at KTN (all birds were seen flying north) 550 on 27 April, and 600 on 29 April. Often mixed with GWFG, making numbers difficult to estimate. Banded CACG at KTN 26 Apr - 3 May had been banded a few weeks earlier in Oregon.
  • Su2013: Two near JNU 2-9 June were late
  • F2013: Single birds at GUS on 13 Aug and JNU 1 Sept were very early, likely representing non-breeding birds that summered in region. CACG is an Uncommon Fall migrant and observed less often in Fall than Spring. Small numbers at GUS 27 Sept-15 Oct (max 15 on 27 Sept) and three a Klawock on 2 Nov.
  • Sp2014: Est. 1500 observed flying over Coffman Cove on 27 April. Max counts elsewhere below average - 45 at GUS on 8 May; well below average at KTN 130 on 26 April. Only small numbers reported elsewhere.
  • Su2014: Up to three observed near JNU through 14 June were late.
  • W2014-2015: Discussion on Taverner's Cackling vs. Lesser Canada
  • Su 2015: Single birds at SIT on 1 June and near JNU on 13 June plus 35 at GUS 25 June were late. Small numbers can be expected to linger through June.
  • F2015: Five at GUS during Nov. were getting late. One lingered to 28 Nov.
  • F2016: Among few reported was an Aleutian Cackling Goose at SIT 10 Nov+. Most Aleutian and minima fly across gulf + north Pacific to wintering areas and bypass Southeast Alaska
  • F2017: Only reported at two locations, flocks of 13, 24, and 28 at GUS on 7, 11, 17 Oct. Three at Neka Bay on 19 Oct.
  • Sp2018: One at GUS 30 Mar-1 April was earliest local arrival date by seven days. Five Aleutian Cackling Geese near JNU 11 May were unusual. This ssp is Casual or Very Rare migrant. Northbound flight of hundreds observed west of Chichagof Island from cruise ship 4 May. "In spring, Cackling and Greater White-fronted geese migrate north through Southeast Alaska to coastal South-central Alaska on their way to nesting areas to the west (Ely and Dzubin 1994, Mowbray et al. 2002); at least some portion of these birds fly over the Gulf of Alaska as indicated by observations at isolated Middleton Island (DeCicco et al. 2017)."
  • Su2018: Late individuals at GUS 2 and 6 June, and HYD 8-9 June.
  • F2018: Larger than average numbers. Max 387 over Craig/Klawock on 25 Oct, with smaller numbers on adjacent dates. Large numbers on ground including 53 at SIT on 7-12 Nov; 93 at Klawock on 18 Nov; up to 30 at HNH through 8 Nov; and 20 at KTN 10 Nov. Latest at Neck Lake on PoW 22 Nov. Very Rare Aleutian Cackling Geese were among minima at SIT and CRG with max of 9 at CRG on 17 Nov.

Local Notes

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