White Embden Geese


The three Amigos!

I was at a nearby lake fishing one cold morning when I spotted these three friends enjoying a fresh grassy breakfast. It was a cold overcast day with mild rain. There were no other geese or water fowl in the area so these three had the place all to themselves. I didn’t have my super telephoto lens that day; just a regular telephoto. I attempted to approach them slowly but they were well aware of my presence and began to make subtle calls and back away every time I stepped closer. After about 8 or so steps toward them, I stopped. It was apparent that they weren’t going to let me get any closer.

That is perfectly fine because I was walking into their territory. Giving animals space becomes priority number one when they exhibit this type of behavior: 1) I wouldn’t want anyone doing that to me if I were trying to keep a safe distance 2) I absolutely discourage causing any type of stress to animals in their natural environment. The shot above was the only one I was able to get before they made their way to the far side of the lake while foraging for food.

Whats your name

When I got home I quickly open my Merlin app to see if I could identify these birds. I assumed it would be fairly easy because after all, they were only one main color; White. I was stomped because the app could not bring up the bird I photographed. I then began to research online using keywords such as white water fowl, white birds, etc. Still nothing. I searched well-known birding sites and still couldn’t find anything. Then I came across a suggested bird; Ross Goose and Snow Goose. After comparing the pictures, it wasn’t the bird I photographed. Both The Ross and Snow Goose have a few black feathers that are visible near the tail. Still stomped, I researched White Goose/Red eyes. Then I finally found my bird.

The Embed Goose

Much to my surprise, I learned that these were domesticated geese and used in meat production! I would have never guessed that such a beautiful bird would be used for meat production. They are the tallest of the breed of geese, reaching 3.3 feet tall and weighing 20-31 lbs. The male geese are a bit on the heavier side. Both sexes look the same and sex is usually determined by an internal physical examination. Their diet consists of grass, however they have been known to eat the bark off of trees if the situation arises. They are mild-tempered birds but the male has been known to show aggressive behaviors mostly exhibited through calls. They lay about 10 eggs per year but have been known to lay up to 40. The incubation stage lasts for about 30 plus days.

The Camera

These animals were fast-moving. I’m not sure if it was because I was around, however I did notice them moving swiftly while grazing when I pulled up to the lake. It’s a good thing I had my camera ready to capture a quick photo with all three of them in the shot; with their heads up. I didn’t have much else in the foreground expect for grass and the lake as the  background. I used some what of a narrow aperture because I wanted less detail in the background while having all three subjects in focus. At the time of the photo, they were standing still, eyeing another individual that was walking up to start fishing

On a final note

I was glad that I ran into these three friends at the lake. I was starting to lose hope of identifying these birds; especially when it took me a few days of research to narrow down the name. I must say that I am enjoying the process of photographing and learning about different species of animals.

Include the following when researching a bird/animal

  • Main color
  • Secondary color
  • beak shape
  • beak color
  • eye color
  • leg color
  • location of discovery

These were a few things that got me over my hump of identifying this bird. If you are an avid birder and have the identification techniques down to a science, hats off to you! I hope to be there one day as well! In the mean time I am enjoying the process.  🙂



XC 50-230mm at 230mm 1/125sec  f/6.7

#photography #nature #bird #water #wildlife #lake

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7 Comments Posted

  1. Nice story and great tips for identifying birds and other animals! I can also recommend spending time on studying pictures of a particular category of birds. For example geese or ‘birds that live around water’. Focus on similarities within groups and what distinguishes them from other groups. That way, when you come across a bird you don’t know, you can narrow it down to family/group and search from there.

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