Messer Pond Fish &Wildlife
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)...
Nancy Stetson, 5-28-07
The following are excerpts from Cornell Lab of Ornithology's "All About Birds":
Long, black neck.
Light tan to cream breast feathers.
Size: 76-110 cm (30-43 in)
Wingspan: 127-170 cm (50-67 in)
Weight: 3000-9000 g (105.9-317.7 ounces)
Sexes look alike.
At least 11 subspecies of Canada Goose have been recognized, although only a couple are distinctive. In general, the geese get smaller as you move northward, and darker as you go westward. The four smallest forms are now considered a different species: the Cackling Goose.
Some migratory populations of the Canada Goose are not going as far south in the winter as they used to. This northward range shift has been attributed to changes in farm practices that makes waste grain more available in fall and winter, as well as changes in hunting pressure and changes in weather.
Individual Canada Geese from most populations make annual northward migrations after breeding. Non-breeding geese, or those that lost nests early in the breeding season, may move anywhere from several kilometers to more than 1500 km northward. There they take advantage of vegetation in an earlier state of growth to fuel their molt. Even members of "resident" populations, which do not migrate southward in winter, will move north in late summer to molt.
The giant Canada goose subspecies, B. canadensis maxima, formerly bred from central Manitoba to Kentucky. It was nearly driven extinct in the early 1900s. Programs to reestablish the subspecies to it original range were tremendously successful, and in fact, in some places were too successful. The numerous introductions and translocations created a number of resident populations, and the geese have become a nuisance in many urban and suburban areas.
Breeds in a broad range of habitats from low Arctic tundra to prairies and parklands, including lakes, meadows, golf courses, and city parks.
Entirely herbivorous. Eats variety of plant species and parts, especially grasses, sedges, grain, and berries.
Foraging - Grazes on grass, tips up to reach aquatic vegetation. Feeds in flocks in fields.
Populations generally increasing over last half-century. Resident and urban populations are becoming a nuisance in some areas.
Please contact Water Safety & Fish/Wildlife Director, Jackie Parcells, with any questions or concerns
Messer Pond Protective Association
P.O. Box 103
New London, NH 03257
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