Bean Goose

Anser fabalis

This casual Asian goose is detected on the Pribilofs once out of every two seasons. They typically arrive between very late May and mid July. This goose has two well differentiated subspecies groups which may well be separate species. The largest, taiga breeding form middendorffi, has definitely occurred in Saint Paul, as a specimen taken in 1946 was found to be of this race. The slightly smaller and shorter billed serrirostris form which breeds in the Siberian tundra has been found in the Aleutians and also has likely occurred on Saint Paul. Bean Geese are often very wary, and obtaining a close enough view to get a good impression of bill shape and size is very difficult. Look for Bean Geese in Little Polovina Wetlands, Tonki Point, the grassy edges of Big Lake and Webster Lake. The best field mark to use in separating Bean Goose from Greater-white Fronted Goose is the bill color, which is pink-orange in White-fronted and black with a subterminal orange band on Bean Goose. If seen in flight the large size and calls are also distinctive. Listen for a deep nasal “ung-unk” call, very different from a Greater White-fronted Goose’s higher pitched laughing cry.