WHAT’S IN A NAME?
The now weird idea that the Barnacle Goose and the Goose Barnacle are the same creature apparently dates back for nearly a millennium. In the 12th Century, Gerard of Wales claimed to have seen the birds hanging down from timber; and in the 16th Century, botanist John Gerard claimed to have witnessed the geese as they emerged from their shells! This is said to have persisted as a legend until the end of the 18th Century. The scientific name of the genus including Barnacle as well as Brent and Canada Geese is Branta, which is a Latinised form of the Old Norse Brandgás, which means burnt, referring to the black in the plumage.