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Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)

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Canada Geese - Migratory or Not

It's the time of year that geese migrate south for the winter. Isn't it? So why are there so many geese still hanging around, setting up housekeeping on our parks and golf courses? Did they decide to forgo the long trip north? In the early 1900s, a subspecies of non-migratory geese were imported... read more »

Topics & Themes:  migration

What Good Are Geese

The author of a recent essay in The New York Times asks, "What good are geese, anyway?" He's referring to the rapidly growing population of non-migratory Canada Geese that have taken up residence in our parks and golf courses. The problem with non-migratory geese is that they have entered a new... read more »


Canada Geese Defend Their Territory

Usually sociable, Canada Geese are highly territorial during the breeding season. When faced with interlopers, nesting birds wave their heads from side to side and up and down, honking unceasingly, determined to drive the other birds off. Amidst the honking, you may hear a sound that scientists... read more »

Topics & Themes:  nesting

Cackling Goose or Canada Goose?

Not only do Cackling Geese sound different, but they also look different from Canada Geese, and their DNA is different. The Cackling Goose was defined only recently as a species separate from the Canada Goose. Learn more about this newly named species at read more »


Cacklers and Canadas

Although it was once considered a diminutive form of Canada Goose, genetic research has shown the Cackling Goose to be a separate species. Its small voice fits nicely its small size. Cacklers breed along the coast of Alaska and winter from Washington south to Mexico. Watch for both species - and... read more »


How Feathers Insulate

A single Canada Goose has between 20 and 25 thousand feathers. Some are designed to help the bird fly or shed water. Many are the short, fluffy kind, the down that insulates the bird from the cold. Birds survive in sub-zero weather by fluffing their feathers, creating layers of air and feathers.... read more »

Topics & Themes:  plumage, science

Geese in V-formation

Autumn…and geese fly high overhead in V-formation. But what about that V-formation, angling outward through the sky? This phenomenon — a kind of synchronized, aerial tailgating — marks the flight of flocks of larger birds, like geese or pelicans. Most observers believe that each bird behind the... read more »


From Egg-laying to Hatching and Beyond

Waterfowl like this Muscovy duckling spend up to 30 days in the egg, so they’re able to walk, swim, and feed themselves as soon as they hatch. We call these chicks precocial. By contrast, the chicks of most songbirds spend less time maturing in the egg. They must continue to develop in the nest... read more »

Topics & Themes:  ecology, nesting, ornithology

Men Who Stay

BirdNote writer Todd Peterson reflects on his friend, a hunter, from Nebraska. Todd’s friend, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, has lost the urge to hunt. He sits in the duck blind, but he does not shoot . . . read more »

Topics & Themes:  human interaction, reflection