Amateur photographer captures a bizarre image
An amateur photographer captured a bizarre image near the Dutch town of Arnhem. What appears at first glance to be an odd deformity, is really a dark gray-brown Bean goose flying upside down. And it’s a pretty common maneuver for these guys.
It’s called whiffling
The move is called “whiffling” and happens when a goose rolls their body upside down and twist their necks 180 degrees to be “heads up” while flying. The behavior is seen in several species including Lesser yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes), the Black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa), the Northern lapwing (Vanellus vanellus), Pink-footed goose (Anser brachyrhynchus), or the Bean goose (Anser fabalis).
Photographer Vincent Cornelissen explained how the photo was taken.
“The weather was bad, so I put on my waterproofs and sat with my back against a tree looking over a lake. It was then that he saw three geese and noticed that one of them was behaving strangely. I saw that one of the three had trouble flying in a straight line. He was having a hard time which I thought was because of the wind. He seemed to be struggling, so I took some pictures of him.”
Why do birds sometimes “whiffle”?
Scientists are not sure why geese sometimes whiffle. It may be a defense mechanism or just a young goose goofing around. Wildlife photographer Lars Soerink said the goose might just be learning new tricks.
“Once young geese have mastered flying, they start to see what is possible and how far they can go.”
Or maybe they’re just showing off.
“It could just as easily be that they do it to brag to their peers. Like, look at me!”
In-Article Image CreditsBean goose flying upside down via Zenger by Vincent Cornelissen with usage type - Editorial use (Fair Use). Low-res version of original photograph
Featured Image CreditBean goose flying upside down via Zenger by Vincent Cornelissen with usage type - Editorial use (Fair Use). Low-res version of original photograph