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New Species of Goose Discovered In Minnesota?
While out driving on the fringes of suburban Minneapolis recently, wildlife expert and filmmaker Doug Hajicek discovered what was either merely a freak of nature or, perhaps, a strange new avian species. The out-of-place bird Hajicek saw and photographed stunned him, as he instantly realized it might be a new species of Hybrid goose, which he has provisionally dubbed a "Mallgoose."
As a producer of scientific programs for the Discovery Channel, Hajicek, by coincidence embarked in October of 2004 on development of a documentary entitled "Haywire Animals." Its topic is the freak animals and strange hybrids, some wild, some genetically engineered, that exist and survive around the world including Minnesota, such as the huge black leopard like cats sighted around the state. Little did he know that he would soon stumble upon one such rarity close to home...
"I was driving back from the local coffee shop and saw a small flock of Canadian geese trying to eat aquatic vegetation through the melting ice in a ditch near a hardware store parking lot and a wetlands. Having slowed down, I noticed one that I first thought was Melanistic [black or dark-phased] Canadian goose. He U-turned his van. When he snuck within 25 feet of the strange bird his senses went on full alert as real goose bumps arose on his arms Hajicek noticed that:
This goose was not just dark-colored, but had a large iridescent green head with a partial white stripe on its longer thicker neck, almost like a male mallard duckís coloration. The bird also had some white polka dots on its chest. What I saw was certainly no large mallard; it had the long thick legs, large feet, a hefty goose-like body; it was as if someone had glued a mallardís head onto a Canadian goose. A hybrid between any kind of goose and a duck is almost nonexistent simply because of the size difference especially a cross involving the exceptionally large Canadian goose. Mallard ducks will cross-breed on occasion with other wild species of ducks, such as Northern pintails, thanks to an over-abundance of male mallards. Said Hajicek, this bird was very weird indeed.
It also sported a mate close to his side at least Hajicek assumed it was such, because male mallards have green heads, whereas the femalesí are mottled brown. There is no telling whether this new species will survive and produce more of its kind, but the pair of oddly matched geese was inseparable and clearly bonded.
Hajicek and his wife Wanda franticly bought a disposable camera at a nearby discount store and were greatly relieved to find their discovery hadnít departed when they returned. Hajicek was able to snap off 30 pictures. Now heís keeping a long lens video camera in his van so he wonít miss documenting any future oddities he may encounter.
"If you see this new goose consider yourself lucky, as it may be the only one in the whole world, says Dr. Lynn Rogers, a biologist who studies wildlife in Minnesota and who had never heard of such a creature, but studied Hajicekís photos. Itís possible the hybrid goose was artificially bred in captivity and escaped or was let loose, but there is no way to tell. If this pair successfully breeds we all may be seeing more íMallgeeseí in the future."
About Doug Hajicek: This Minnesota-based natural history filmmaker is best known for his worlds first successful infrared animal-den "cams" he and Rogers used such as the hibernating-black-bear cam and the beaver lodge cam where it was discovered that beavers and muskratís cohabitate. As the inventor of the Benthic Explorer system he and scientists have gathered information from the bottom of Lake Superior for 550 days. Hajicek also produced the first scientific documentary on the controversial Sasquatch issue for Discovery Channel that has plagued North America for over 200 years in: "Legend meets Science". that spawned a TV series entitled "Mysterious Encounters", currently running on OLN Monday nights www.olntv.com.
Footnote: More pictures of the "Mallgoose" can be seen at http://www.whitewolfentertainment.com/mallgoose.asp. Haywire animals such as Tigons, a cross between a tiger and a lion, and many others such as Wolphins, Leopons, Jaglions, Zedonks, and Pumapards, can be viewed at http://www.greenapple.com/~jorp/amzanim/crossesa.htm.