A Majestic Domestic Spotted in Baraboo

Once again, we are back in Baraboo, Wisconsin but this time with specimens from the Goose family.  First off, an apology.  The title of this post really doesn’t fit based on a crap load of Internet research.  After frying a bunch of synapse coming up with a clever title I hated to give it up so we are going with it.  This series of pictures was taken on our way home from our Easter stay at Chula Vista Resort.  just outside the Dells.  Our trek home took us through the city of Baraboo which always makes me shudder in fright  … who in their right mind would take the effort to make a Circus Museum?!?  I’ll answer that, a DERANGED CLOWN LOVER that’s who.  Give me a second to get the heart calmed down..

beatbeatbeatbe atbe atb e atb e atb e a tbe e a t b e a t b e a t   ahhhh that was close

Continuing on, there is a nice stream that runs through that city which can be seen from the main thoroughfare (as it heads to Devil’s Head if you are curious).  On that day we spotted a couple of birds hanging out along the shore.  Not wanting to pass up a shot opportunity I had Linda turn onto a side road for some in vehicle shots – the Beast was on the camera so there was plenty of reach.  Turns out we were stopped right next to a No Parking sign and some cars were giving us disproving looks.  Not wanting to ruffle the locals, Linda dropped me off and started cruising around while I took some more shots from the banks.  Turns out the final product had a nice surprise.

It was high day which put up a pretty good fight on the exposure effort.  Admittedly, there is some blowout just below the neck, but was able to recover a lot of the feature detail outside that (embrace the RAW).  At the time, the small LCD screen was not able to really show a unique feature of the bird, but once in the digital darkroom it came out crystal clear.  Let’s move in a bit so you can see for yourself.

That eye is just plain gorgeous.  The orange eyelids really make it pop against the white coloring.  The sun angle even gave the highly desired glint.  To do it again I would have backed the exposure off one or two stops and then brought the light back in post processing.  Recovery restored a lot of the detail around the head, so a tighter crop would take out some of the blow outs, but there needs to be some of it left – otherwise it would look like someone took an ax to it (eesh).  As an example, here is another tight crop which gives even a better view of the eye but again, a less appealing crop from an overall composition perspective… and yes, I needed to apply some additional recovery on this version to get the detail back in the head feathering.

Hit the jump to see more pictures from this post

Might as well touch upon this now.  Initially, I scoured my references to properly identify this particular bird.  There were all white swans, but the structure clearly matches the goose frame.  Eventually, I came to the Snow Goose but it has black markings on the rear tail which was clearly lacking in this specimen. Other than that, nothing matched an all white bird in that section (three different resources.. no luck).  Next attempt, the Web.  This eventually led to our good friends at Wikipedia that produced a page on the Domestic Goose (link here).  The picture in the upper right of that page looked very close to the one here.  That (if you didn’t already make the connection) lead to the post title.  Harvesting facts for the post (and they say this isn’t work), a more detailed reading lead to the fact that the domestic goose has a slanted back which … wait for it .. completely prevents flight.  What the hell!  Not only am I sure this bird can fly, it has a more horizontal back line.   Oddly enough, due to their aggressive nature, they have historically been used a guard animals.  I am going to go out on a limb here and say the Aflac duck is actually a domestic goose but any challenge to that will be graciously considered.

Well, actually I’ll go another step away from the tree trunk and say it is an Embden Goose(link here) .. again based purely on Wikipedia.  Of course on further reading of that article they state being domesticated they can fly but don’t migrate.  By now my head was hurting so did one last modern researchy thing and searched for white goose on Google images.  Sure enough they were all over the place with the general identification of White Goose.  So even though it can’t be found in my reference books, I’m sticking with White Goose and yes it is a new addition to my bird list (just no place to put the checkmark).  As often happens time was getting away from me but Linda is really good about not rushing me when I’m in the zone.

Previously it was mentioned there were two birds at this location, but the dominant portion of the shots were targeted at the big white one.  It was having a grand time wading and feeding in the stream.  Thoughts of my chiropractor came up when taking the following shot.

So the other .. less interesting.. bird was your standard Canadian Goose.  From the body behavior of that one, the white one must have been it’s mate.  Since assumptions are never in short supply here at LifeIntrigued, we’ll say the white one with the pretty blue eyes is the female and the darker one is the male.  Once the white bird moved into frame view with the Canadian Goose it became a study in contrasts.  By now the white one had taken notice that a human had a massive glass pointed at it.  Being a ham, she proceeded to “work the glamour shots”.  Flipping her head from side to side..

Note, the above shot is probably my favorite one of the entire Wisconsin trip (thanks to both the faster exposure on the feathers and the great expression on the white bird).  The entire time the white bird was playing it up, Mr. Canadian was standing like a statue.  It didn’t even turn his head once for the entire shoot.  All prim and proper acting all tough and protective of his mate.  After about 10 minutes of posing the female finally looked straight at me as if to say “wait a minute, you are not a famous movie producer”

Immediately the shenanigans stopped and she took on the serious demeanor of  the male.   Not only did she emotionally change, she took up the exact same posture as the male as if a military role call was being performed.

And there the two stood frozen in time.  By now Linda was making her way back (for the second time if I remember correctly).  There was not a compelling reason to continue taking the exact same shot so shut down the shoot and got back in the car.  Now when people ask me what the enjoyment is in photographing birds I’ll simply reference this post.  Once you start down this path you quickly learn that birds are extremely entertaining and display all sorts of interesting behaviors.

Almost forgot to include some interesting facts.  Since there isn’t much on the White Goose, let’s comment on the Canadian Goose.  Per the National Geographic North American Bird reference, their population has been exploding over the years with an estimated population in the 5 million level and reaching urban nuisance status.  From personal experience these birds are down right nasty when it comes to protecting their nests.  They have no qualms about rushing you and pecking at you if you get too close.  They generally mate for life and are primarily herbivores – unless you go barefoot around them in which case they switch to full on carnivores.  There is also someone in my household that has managed to slam a golf ball directly into one with a fairway iron.  Want to guess who that individual is?  hint IT WAS NOT ME.  There may be some dispute on the exact story of what happened, but one may have been swayed to let the other person proceed to hit the ball based on the fact that the goose was in a direct line from the ball to the pin, which by ANY other time would have been the absolute safest place to be.   I shall leave this story right there.

Hope you enjoyed another post about our feathered friends to the North.

2 thoughts on “A Majestic Domestic Spotted in Baraboo”

  1. An interesting read. BTW, it should be “Majestic” unless you had something more subtle in mind.

    Let me tell you a story. Years ago, in the 80’s, I was with some friends and a bunch of other people taking an evening tour in a forest preserve outside Rockford. There are two things that I remember particularly well from that tour. First, some kind of black hornet or something kept diving at us for about an hour for no earthly reason. Second, the nature guide asked us at one point to identify a particular bird on the water. An outgoing sort at the time, I raised my hand and said, “Canadian Goose.” His face lit up, and he proceeded to ask me how I knew it was from Canada in particular, and other such questions, before announcing to everyone that it is C-A-N-A-D-A Goose, not C-A-N-A-D-I-A-N Goose, and I think something about how I was an idiot. I see that Wikipedia says “The Canada Goose is also referred to as the Canadian Goose, although that name is discouraged. [verification needed]” Well, I have the damn verification. Anyway, you might reconsider a certain term for a certain bird in your post.

    As the golf ball was in the fairway, I’m going with Linda. I would be surprised if you even had a fairway iron.

    Thanks again for your post. The orange eyelids are tres chic.



  2. Thanks for the spelling catch – nothing going on there other than a statement on the quality of my grade school education. It is fixed now!

    What a fantastic story of … an a-hole tour guide. Granted, he is technically correct but the proper response is “prove to me he isn’t from Canada and until then put a lid on the smug. In that tour guide’s (and your obvious superior intelligence) honor I will ALWAYS refer to this goose as the Canadian Goose unless someone can prove to me they didn’t fly down from the north. Besides with the abundance of these creatures invading every one of our golf courses and parks they should drop the entire first name anyway.

    As far as golf goes, I can easily extend my golf outings to three a year if you need me to. One for Linda who relentlessly begs me to take her out until I give in, One for Dan to continue my total dominance for another year (which still burns him up that I can beat him only playing twice a year – I know his Kryptonite… evergreen trees). And now an extra one to show you I can hit the fairway – which will be doubly impressive to you since my drive stance has my toes properly lined up 90 degrees to the direction I plan on hitting – unlike someone I know who will not remain nameless – YOU – who has (at least used to have) his feet 45 degrees off line just to compensate for a wicked slice! memory like an elephant .. hehehehe


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