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Canadian Birds

The Branta Canadensis, better known as the Canada Goose is a bird which can be found all over North America. People from all over America look towards the sky when the Canada Geese go honking overhead their trademark “V” formation, and because they nest all over Canada the United States many people have a chance to witness the birds nesting grounds and back to the wintering grounds. The Canada Goose is respected by so many of us because of it’s dignity and courage and up.

Over the years the Canada Goose has picked up many slang names, these are: Canadian Goose, Canadian Honker, Honker, Honker Goose, Big Honker, Old Honker, Boy Goose, Bernache (French for Barnacle Goose), Big Mexican Goose, Blackee, Blacknecked Goose, Brant, French Goose, Northern Goose, Reef Goose, Ringneck, Wavy, and White-cheeked Goose (Wormer). The Canada Goose has excellent eyesight which makes it difficult to because the Goose can see the hunter well before the hunter ever sees (Wormer).

This eyesight is essential for flying though, a Canada Goose three quarters of a sphere without moving its head (Wormer). The also has an acute sense of hearing, it’s ears are positioned on the (Wormer). They have either no sense of smell or a very poor one, but mpede the goose in any way (Wormer). Although there is a large all subspecies of Canada Geese look the same physically (Wormer) The female Canada Goose look almost exactly the same except the female can be recognized because it is smaller and less aggressive (Wormer). ut, the color pattern is generally the same for all the subspecies head and neck are dark black with a large white patch on each cheek under the chin, this is the Canada Goose’s most easily recognized because it is unique to the Canada Goose (Wormer). The upper parts of as well as the wings are greyish brown, the feathers tipped with Godfrey). The tail is black with the upper tail coverts white and the coverts are white also (Godfrey). The under body is brownish grey with feather tips, the sides being the darkest and the lower belly is white The feathers of the breast commonly called down are broad and square (Godfrey).

The bill and legs are dark black, and the iris of the eye black pupil (Wormer). The Canada Goose in it’s first Autumn and Winter similar to the adults but breast feathers are narrower, softer and more outer primaries on the other hand are less rounded than those of a (Godfrey). The Canada Goose color pattern works as a great disguise, flat with the neck outstretched the Canada Goose looks like a clump of dirt and difficult to distinguish as a goose even on snow or ice goslings of all subspecies of the Canada Goose look identical (Breen). re bright yellow and weigh less than one pound when hatched, after two they way two pounds, after one month their weight is three to four their color is a dull grey, after six weeks a color pattern can be seen to fly i. e.. running on top of the water flapping it’s wings, after look like adult and weigh six to seven pounds and some are able to fly o fly in their ninth week, further growth depends on the subspecies There are eleven subspecies of the Canada Goose but the characteristics separate them usually cannot be seen from a distance (Wormer).

Branta Canadensis Minima, also known as the Cackling Canada Goose is the all subspecies weighing only two and a half to four pounds (Wormer). darkest in color and has the highest pitch call (Wormer). Branta Hutchinsii, also known as the Richardson Canada Goose weighs three to pounds and is light in color, it’s call has a pitch slightly deeper Cackling Canada Goose (Wormer). Branta Canadensis taverneri, also Taverner’s Canada Goose weighs three and a half to five pounds and is color (Wormer).

Branta Canadensis leucopareia, also known as the Canada Goose also weighs three and a half pounds and is identical to Canada Goose except it has a narrow white ring separating the black dark grey-brown body (Wormer). Branta Canadensis Parvipes, also known Lesser Canada Goose weighs six pounds and is light colored (Wormer). Canadensis Occidentalis, also known as the Dusky Canada Goose Weighs twelve pounds and is dark brown almost chocolate covered (Wormer). Canadensis, also known as the Atlantic Canada Goose weighs six to nd is light colored (Wormer).

Branta Canadensis Interior, also known Canada Goose also weighs six to eleven pounds and is medium colored Branta Canadensis Moffiti, also known as the Western Canada Goose weighs twelve to fifteen pounds and is medium colored (Wormer). Branta Fulva, also known as the Vancouver Canada Goose weighs six to thirteen and is dark in color, ninety percent of this species do not migrate and Columbia all year round (Wormer). Branta Canadensis Maxima, also the Giant Canada Goose is said to be the most beautiful of all the is known that they are the most easily domesticated (Wormer).

Giant Weigh eighteen to twenty pounds and are medium colored. Their feature is that there is a small backward projecting hook on the white (Wormer). The Canada Goose has ten vocalizations or calls which it communicate with other Canada Geese, honking, long distance call, alarm, short distance call of mate, short distance call to goslings, for female, adult distress, gosling distress, and gosling contentment scream of pain when the bird is bitten (Wormer). It takes a female goose a day to a day and half to lay an egg (Wormer).

Each goose lays and average of five to six eggs, sometimes only two and ometimes one goose may lay eleven to twelve eggs (Wormer). With sixty of all eggs laid hatching tow Canada Geese produce an average of three per year (Wormer). Male to Female births are split down the middle, 50- (Wormer). The eggs are dull white and 2. 86 by 1. 89 inches to 3. 43 by 2. (Godfrey) and weigh 3. 5 to 7. 5 ounces (Breen). The incubation period twenty five to twenty eight days with an average incubation temperature degrees Fahrenheit to 101. 3 degrees Fahrenheit (Wormer).

Most of the Geese killed from hunting are twelve to twenty-three years old (Wormer). Geese in captivity however live an aver age of twenty to thirty years sometimes even over forty (Wormer). The Canada Goose has a very rapid rate, in fact if an average human baby were to grow as fast as a weigh one-hundred and thirty-eight pounds by the time it was eight (Wormer). Goslings begin to develop feathers after their third week fifth week the feather are the color of and adults (Breen). The adult molting when the goslings are two weeks old and is unable to fly for weeks (Breen).

After the molting period the goslings are eight to nine and are ready to fly with their parents (Breen). The Canada Goose has two types of habitat, breeding grounds, and Wintering grounds (Ross). Canada Gees migrate north to their breeding and south to their wintering grounds (Ross). During migration north geese follow four main flyways, Atlantic flyway, Pacific Flyway, Flyway and the Central Flyway (Breen). Within these flyways are corridors (refer to maps 1 and 2), biologists are not sure how they corridor year after year (Breen).

There are three main theories of how Goose navigates to the same breeding and wintering grounds each (Breen). One theory is that they rely on landscape cues, another se the position of the sun and stars, and the third theory is that tissue in their brains, like that of a pigeon and they use the earth’s navigate, but exactly how Canada Geese navigate is unknown (Breen). ducks may fly as fast as eighty miles per hour but the Canada Goose more graceful speed of forty-two to forty-five miles per hour during can fly as fast as sixty miles per hour.

Canada Geese always take off and usually fly at an altitude between one thousand and three thousand bad weather will fly as low as a couple hundred feet and when traveling distance they prefer walking because it uses less energy (Breen). When in flocks Canada Geese fly in their trademark “V” formation, this created because each goose flies behind and to the side of the goose in allows them to take advantage of the slipstream created, this technique automobile racers as drafting and it lets the Canada Goose fly seventy- further than just going by itself (Breen).

Another skill Canada Geese heavy wind is wiffeling, to do this the goose turns its body sideways wings are perpendicular to the ground, the bird loses it’s left and of the sky, this technique is known to glider pilots as side slipping out of the sky (Breen). Most people believe that the migration north migration south are the same but actually they are different (Breen). north to the breeding grounds is a slower and more relaxed one than moving south (Wormer).

The migration north sometimes begins in late Canada Geese that are wintering far south, but the majority of movement March (Resource Reader). The female chooses the breeding grounds and site, the breeding grounds are those of which she was hatched (Breen). breeding grounds have the following characteristics: Browsing area for nesting season, firm foundations, excellent visibility in all rooding area of open water, aquatic feeding area, cover of emergent protection during molting, and a browsing area for brood after they (Wormer).

Some areas with these characteristics are: swamps, marshes, rivers, lakes, ponds, islands, Tundra and coastal plain (Wormer). to build the nest are small islets, muskrat houses, other birds sometimes unabandoned nests, in the case where the nest is still female goose will incubate the other birds eggs as well as her own. especially the Giant Canada will also use man made nests like washtubs, and haystacks (Wormer). Nest size varies from four inches deep by ten ide to fifteen inches deep and forty-four inches wide (Wormer).

After has chosen the breeding grounds, nesting site and built the nest the while she incubates the eggs (Wormer). Canada Geese breed all over in ideal breeding areas there may be many geese per acre but some be as much as thirty five acres (Wormer) (See maps 1 and 2 for breeding densities of geese). The migration south to the wintering grounds is a paced migration than the one north and done in much larger flocks flock usually consists of a group of families (Breen). October and mid- is when the greatest numbers of Canada Geese can be seen moving south Resource Reader).

Popular wintering grounds have a good food supply, resting grounds near a lake, river or resivoir, the body of water have low banks or shorelines for loafing and the climate should not be (Wormer). It is often on the wintering grounds that the geese choose whom they will pair with for life, unless one is killed (Obee). Some migrate as far as Mexico, others stop further north, some don’t migrate some even migrate across the ocean to Japan (Ross) (Refer to maps 1 and wintering areas and densities of geese).

Canada Geese like to feed mid-morning and just before sunset leaving id-day for relaxing. Canada Geese graze cord grass, spike rush, naiad, bullrush, salt grass, seepweed, Bermuda grass, golden dock, lycium, wild barley, rabbit-foot grass, pepper grass, saltbush, cattail, alkali mustard (Wormer). They will eat Ladino or Dutch white clover if it is other grasses that the goose normally eats, they will not eat alfalfa young and tender (Wormer). Canada Geese also feed on all human grown but their favorite of all foods is corn (Breen).

The most popular which forty three percent of geese feed on, small grain fed on by percent of geese, twenty two percent feed on pasture, and soybeans he other nine percent (Breen). Apart from dry land grazing Canada feed on some aquatic growth (Wormer). Canada Geese are mostly they do feed on some small insects, insect larvae, mollusks and small Dogs will chase and kill Canada Geese for fun and coyotes and wolves also kill Canada Geese for food, but most of the time geese are much to land mammals unless they are hurt or wounded or it is during molting (Wormer).

Molting season is the most dangerous time of the Canada because it cannot fly, however even without their flight feathers a can still outrun a man over land and may even be able to fight of an trong blows from it’s wings and using it’s beak as a weapon (Breen). the largest predator of the Canada Goose (Wormer). However due to management of hunting of Canada Geese the population has not been hunting (Wormer). In 1995 Goose hunting season for North Game Bird opened on September first and closed December ninth with a bag limit of daily which not more than six may be dark geese and of these not more may be whitefronts (Wiens).

In the South Game Bird District of season for goose hunting opened on September eleventh and also closed on December ninth with a bag limit of eighteen of which not more than ark geese and of these not more than six may be whitefronts (Wiens). Parasites are not responsible for to many adult goose deaths but they cause some (Wormer). Most of the damage parasites do is killing three days old (Wormer). Some internal parasites of Canada Geese worm and blood parasites (Wormer).

Externally the Canada Goose also has Some times a female Canada Goose will nest in a nest that has already made by an eagle or hawk and may still be occupied (Wormer). If the contains the eggs of the bird who built the nest the female Canada incubate the other birds eggs as well as her own (Wormer). This birds because it leaves the other bird more time to rest and eat and Goose gets to use a nest (Wormer). Canada Geese frequently nest on top muskrat houses because they are on open water where the eggs are safe birds and foxes, this does not disturb the muskrat in any way (Wormer).

Canada Goose will also nest in an abandoned nest of a hawk, eagle or bird (Wormer). There have been cases reported of small songbirds seen the backs of Canada Geese on their migration route or hunters who have goose and found a smaller bird tucked away in it’s feathers, However scientific documentation of this (Breen). The Canada Goose’s largest competition is usually other Canada Geese (Wormer). Canada Geese do not mind if other waterfowl such as ducks are nesting nearby but they will fight other Canada Geese for their necessary (Wormer).

It is important that Canada Geese do not build together because when the goslings are first hatched they cannot parents nor can their parents recognize them and the goslings can mixed up and follow a different set of parents (Wormer). Humans have had a strong effect on the population of the Canada Goose, good and bad effects. Agricultural waste water kills many geese each uman waste that kills geese is when they ingest spent ammunition with geese die of lead poisoning and it is a very painful death and more most people think (Wormer).

Urban growth, industry and draining land farming contribute to the four hundred thousand acres of wetland lost the United States which has had a tremendous effect on some waterfowl, this does not directly effect the Canada Goose’s birth rate because Geese breed far enough north that they are isolated from progress disappearing of wetlands does effect them indirectly though because for resting and feeding along the migration route and are important for Breen). Nesting sites in the north aren’t totally safe from humans Exxon oil spill has damaged Canada Goose habitat (Breen).

Plans to dam Yukon River could also ruin the nesting grounds for over two hundred The number of people who are trying to protect wetlands has become large (Breen). The largest and best known group is probably Ducks Canada which was founded in 1937 and has over one-hundred thousand most of which are hunters (Breen). In 1973 it expanded into the United which now has over five-hundred and fifty thousand members also which mostly hunters and one year after in 1974 Ducks Unlimited de Mexico ther two groups in wetland protection (Breen).

Since their founding Unlimited have raised nearly one half billion dollars ninety three has been invested in projects to aid waterfowl such as the Canada Goose As long as the Canada Goose’s private northern breeding grounds are not disturbed this magnificent bird should be with us a long time. For Canada Goose symbolizes autumn when we see them gracefully soaring the air to their warm winter home and they also symbolize spring time come back from their winter home. The Canada Goose is a bird with pride and is a bird that is loved by all who see and hear it.

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