Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Canada Goose

If you live in the United States or Canada, you've probably come across a Canada Goose once or twice... or heck, every time you step outside. Branta canadensis is an extremely widespread species. Flocks from the northern reaches of the range are often migratory, spending their winters in the Southern United States and Mexico. Birds living in more temperate latitudes however, will remain in the area year-round. Canada Geese are found near bodies of water, and they aren't picky about what that body is. They can be found in habitats ranging from large lakes to man-made suburban drainage ponds to water features in golf courses. Due to their suburban invasion, they are sometimes considered pests. They are especially detrimental to airfields, which are typically placed near water.

Interestingly, the Canada Goose was almost extinct. At the beginning of the 20th century their numbers were so low that reintroduction efforts were started to raise the population. This movement was obviously a success, as the Geese can now be found in every single US state. Regulated hunting, tagging, and relocation efforts now exist for the species, in order to keep the overall population in check.

In the wild, Canada Geese are able to live up to 24 years, and specimens in captivity have made it past 40. They are seasonally monogamous, and some pairs will remain together for a lifetime. They are very social birds, with both parents caring for their young within an even larger flock environment. Canada Geese are herbivores that consume a variety of grasses. The largest of the subspecies, the Giant Canada Goose, can weigh over 20lbs and have a wingspan of 80in. Canada Geese are one of the largest goose species

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