|The Canada goose may b a dwarf or a giant. Some
of its races are not much bigger than a mallard, while others are twice that
size. But all have a black and white face. The traditional home of the Canada
goose is in the wilds of North America, but it is a highly adaptable bird.
It readily changes it habits to benefit a new sources of food on farmland
or refuges. It need flourishes within city limits, where flocks of feeding
birds have become a common sight.
Habits: The Canada goose is native to North America, where it breeds in temperatures zones up to the Arctic Circle. There are 10 to 12 distinct races, which vary greatly in size. Most are migratory, flying as far south as Mexico after they breed. Some migration routes have changed in recent decades. The Canada goose is quick to exploit new wildfowl refuses and feeding sites and will alter its route to take in these stopovers. The Canada goose is sociable. It feeds in groups and roosts in flocks of up o several hundred on open water. Family bonds are strong within the flocks, but there is hostility between geese before the breeding season, when new pairs are formed and territories established. Breeding usually takes place close to water.
In winter many birds takes shelter in fields and coastal plains that are within easy reach of water. The Canada goose has been introduced into New Zealand, Great Britain, Scandinavia, and Germany. It has adaptation easily to man made birds have spread to live on reservoirs. Most of these wild populations are non migratory, but those that breed in Sweden travel each fall to Germany.
Food & Feeding: The Canada goose feeds almost entirely on plants. It walks across marshes, grassland, and fields and lowers its long neck to graze. It also grazes in water by upending to pluck aquatic plants from under the surface. The bird's diet includes stems, leaves, roots, tubers, fruit, and seeds. In North America some of its common food plants are widgeon grass, eel grass, bulrush, sedge, and pond weed. The Canada goose also raids cultivated land and may damage crops. European birds feed mainly on grasses, aquatic plants, clover, grains, beans, and kale.
Bird watch: In the southern United States, the Canada goose is a familiar winter visitor. Farther north, where it is a migrant, wedge shaped flocks of flying geese are a harbinger of both spring and fall. But in recent decades the Canada goose has established itself as a year round resident in densely populated areas, even in city parks. Geese pair for life and are always found together, even outside the nesting season.
Breeding: the Canada goose mates for life. A young adult starts t o look for a mate when it is a year old, but stable pairs usually do not form until the second year. A male displays to a female with elaborate movements of his neck and by nosily chasing other geese. If the female is unpaired and interested, she eventually joins his display, and they form a pair and mate. In North America nesting usually takes place in an open, remote site that is close to water. European birds often nest under bushes and trees in a site closer to human habitation, such as an island on a lake.
Each pair establishes a territory around its nest and defends it from other pairs until the young leave. The nest is a low pile of eaves, grass, and twigs., The same pair repairs and uses it year after year. The female carries out most of the nest buildings, lining the structure with her own loose down feathers. She alone incubates the five on six eggs for about four weeks, but both parents care for the young after they hatch. The chicks apidly learn to find food for themselves.
Did you know?
Related Species: The closest relatives
of the Canada goose are the barnacle goose, Branta leucopsis, and the brant,
Features of the Canada Goose:
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