FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The official arrival of the first Canada goose this year in Fairbanks was 3:51 p.m. on March 30.
That is the earliest date for the arrival of the first goose, breaking the previous record of April 2, set in 2010, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported on Friday.
But the record comes with an asterisk. There is only circumstantial evidence the bird was a wild migrating goose and not a domesticated goose.
Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist Mark Ross keeps records of the arrival of the first goose since he started at the department in 1996.
Ross’ observation is used to determine the winner of a local Goosewatcher contest organized by a group of local radio stations.
North Pole resident Logan Llewellyn won the prize for guessing 3:50 p.m.
Ross saw the goose but didn’t get a photograph of the bird or the names of any of the other people he was standing near – including one holding a camera.
“I didn’t request a photo, which is too bad,” he said.
He set the 3:51 p.m. official time based on what the people told him.
Evidence that the goose was a wild goose includes the fact that Fairbanks experienced a record warm March and that other migrating birds have arrived weeks ahead of normal, including a ring-necked duck and a merlin. Although Ross didn’t see the bird land himself, he said the people he spoke with told him the bird was flying at a high elevation from the east before landing at the field, consistent with the usual migration pattern of Canada geese.
Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com