Fish Or Fowl?

Reminder:  You can enlarge any of the photos in this blog by clicking on it.  Click again for a full-screen image.

We often observed Barnacle Geese during our voyage around Svalbard.  These birds seemed to inhabit every fjord we visited.  They are beautiful birds, smaller than Canada Geese, but extremely graceful.

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They are powerful fliers and we’d see them in the air often.

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This is their breeding season and, consequently, it was typical to see these geese in pairs.

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These geese are migratory: although they breed in the Arctic they spend their winters in northern Europe.  A legend arose about these geese.  Europeans concluded that they were the offspring of barnacles and that they appeared each autumn in northern Europe as a result of the barnacles’ breeding cycle.  It was a convenient legend because church leaders of the time concluded that Barnacle Geese were “fish” and that they were exempted from the then-ban on eating meat on Fridays.


Images made with a Canon 5Diii, 400 DO.  Aperture preferred setting for all photos.  ISOs and exposures varied.

One response to “Fish Or Fowl?”

  1. Liesl Kii says :

    Beautiful birds!

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