The natural history of Barnacle Goose was long surrounded with a legend claiming that they were born of driftwood:
Nature produces [Bernacae] against Nature in the most extraordinary
way. They are like marsh geese but somewhat smaller. They are produced
from fir timber tossed along the sea, and are at first like gum.
Afterwards they hang down by their beaks as if they were a seaweed
attached to the timber, and are surrounded by shells in order to grow
more freely. Having thus in process of time been clothed with a strong
coat of feathers, they either fall into the water or fly freely away
into the air. They derived their food and growth from the sap of the
wood or from the sea, by a secret and most wonderful process of
alimentation. I have frequently seen, with my own eyes, more than a
thousand of these small bodies of birds, hanging down on the sea-shore
from one piece of timber, enclosed in their shells, and already formed.
They do not breed and lay eggs like other birds, nor do they ever hatch
any eggs, nor do they seem to build nests in any corner of the earth.
This belief may be related to the fact that these geese were never seen
in summer, when they were supposedly developing underwater (they were
actually breeding in remote Arctic regions) in the form of barnacles—which came to have the name "barnacle" because of this legend.
Wingspan: 130–145 cm
Giraldus Cambrensis "Topographica Hiberniae" (1187), quoted in Edward Heron-Allen, Barnacles in Nature and in Myth, 1928, reprinted in 2003, p. 10. ISBN 0-7661-5755-5