H Is For Hanhi.


Finnish for goose. These are barnacle geese (valkoposkihanhi, white-cheeked goose). Hanhi used to be a common word for all waterfowl. Barnacle geese love to graze on human-made lawns and grassy areas, eating (and pooping) like horses.

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© Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved.


  1. kestrel says

    Really lovely. We have Canada geese that behave about the same way, here. This time of year there are vast flocks just hanging out in pastures and on ponds.

  2. Ice Swimmer says

    Thank you, kestrel.

    Barnacle geese are closely related to Canada geese (both are in the genus Branta).

  3. Ice Swimmer says

    Marcus @ 2

    They are a protected species. That being said, they do run away if you try to take close-ups. They can also attack if they have chicks or you go too close to their nests. While they’re half the size of Canada geese, they’re still big birds.

    I keep a respectful distance to them as well as other geese and swans as much as possible.

  4. jazzlet says

    It’s surprisingly frightening being chased by one, especially if you stop too soon and it redoubles it’s efforts to see you off.

  5. Ice Swimmer says

    Canada geese here seem to stay much closer to water than barnacle geese and eat from the bottom of the sea.

  6. chigau (違う) says

    Canada geese are a serious problem in urban areas on the west coast.
    Whenever Vancouver or Victoria or wherever proposes a cull or does a cull,
    there is much outrage from certain aspects of the human population.

  7. Nightjar says

    Beautiful light in this one, Ice Swimmer. Grazing like horses seems right given that I can count 27 geese of which only two have their head raised!

  8. Ice Swimmer says

    chigau @ 8

    Here the biggest problem with culling barnacle geese is that they mainly graze in urban parks, so shooting them is out of the question as it would result in the risk of humans getting accidentally hit with iron or bismuth shot (it is forbidden to hunt waterfowl with lead shot) and windows getting broken. The latest proposal is hiring people and maybe dogs to chase them away.

    The Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry in the University of Helsinki has a special permit to use a trained dog to chase/herd the geese away from their research fields so they won’t eat the science.

  9. Ice Swimmer says

    Nightjar @ 9

    Thank you. It’s evening light (a bit before 9 pm in mid-May, about an hour before sunset) and the picture is taken towards southwest.

    They had to hurry to get their fill before dark, I think.

  10. chigau (違う) says

    Ice Swimmer #10
    The geese infesting Vancouver urban parks could be culled with a large stick.
    The outrage comes from animal lovers.
    There was once a suggestion that the birds could be killed, dressed, cooked and sent to the soup-kitchens.
    The animal lovers didn’t like that.

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