Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



The Nebraska Bird Review, Volume 89 June 2021 Number 2, pp. 80-91


Published by the Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union, Inc.


On 2 November 1968 in northeastern Otoe County, Nebraska, Milton Muncie harvested a bird (herein referred to as the 1968 specimen), subsequently identified as an immature Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis), from a flock of about 40 Cackling Geese (Branta hutchinsii; Cortelyou 1969). The occurrence was reported not only as the first record of a Barnacle Goose for Nebraska, but also the first record for the North American Interior and West (Cortelyou 1969). Cortelyou’s (1969) brief article also included a photograph of the mounted specimen. At the time and when subsequently reviewed by various authors, the identity of the 1968 specimen as a Barnacle Goose was not a matter of debate. Questions about its provenance, however, led authors (Bray et al. 1986, Sharpe et al. 2001) to consider the species’ occurrence as a wild bird in the state to be unproven, thus “hypothetical”. Bray et al. (1986) noted an immature in fall was a likely age class and period for a genuine wild vagrant, but considered the Otoe County specimen an escapee, citing Ryff (1984). Johnsgard (2018) also acknowledged the possibility the 1968 specimen could be a true vagrant, referring to it as “apparently wild”. Barnacle Goose has subsequently been reported four times in the state, but none of the reports are as welldocumented as the 1968 specimen. Thus, no records have been accepted and Barnacle Goose does not appear on the Official List of the Birds of Nebraska (Brogie 2009).