A Canada Geese pair....
The sound of distant honking draws my attention to the sky. I shield my eyes from the sun and look up. Soon over the horizon I see a formation of geese, flying in a distinct V pattern. I don’t need a pair of binoculars to discern that this is group is a flock of Canada Geese during fall migration.
Canada Geese are familiar to most of us. In our area Canada Geese are year round residents, but we see them most often during spring and fall migration. Sometimes we’ve been privileged to host them for a brief stopover in the pasture. Though I can recognize a Canada Goose from far away, I never really got a good idea of their large size until I saw them up close. Up in the air they look not much bigger than a duck, but when they land nearby, you realize just how large of a species they really are.
For this month’s In Scope, we’ll be taking a close up look at Canada Geese and learn more about this special species.
Canada Goose standing....
Did you know...
What attracts Canada Geese?
Water is the main element that attracts Canada Geese - ponds, lakes, bays, marshy wetland areas and other bodies of water are very attractive to Canada Geese. They are also very common in large grassy fields and agricultural areas, especially grain fields. Large expanses of well kept lawn may also be a draw for Canada Geese - which is why they can often be found in parks and on golf courses. They can also be found in residential areas and urban parks near water.
What to look for -
Keep an eye out for Canada Geese in large expanses of grass or grain fields and on the water. You will often find them floating on calm waters and grazing or resting in the field.
Zoom In: Species Profile
The Canada Goose is a large species of waterfowl about 35-46 inches in length. Both male and female look alike, having brown bodies, black head and neck with a distinct white cheek patch on both sides of the face. They look very similar to the smaller Cackling Goose which is about 22-26 inches in length with much the same plumage colors and patterns.
The voice of the Canada Goose is mainly a series of honks, very different from the Cackling Geese’ high pitched call that sounds very much like a ‘cackle’.
The preferred habitat of the Canada Goose is almost always near water such as lakes, bays, rivers and wetlands. They are also common on golf courses and in grassy meadows or grain fields.
The nest of the Canada Goose consists of a large mount of grass and feather down located on the ground near water. Canada Geese rarely nest in trees, but when they do they use an abandoned nest of a Bald Eagle or Osprey. The female lays 4 - 8 white eggs. The young leave the nest 1-2 days after hatching. They are able to feed themselves but are attended to by both parents.
The Canada Goose’s diet is mostly vegetation - grasses, aquatic and wetland plants - also berries (especially blueberries), seeds and grain. They occasionally eat insects, crustaceans, mollusks and tiny fish.
Canada Geese can be found all over the continent - in Canada and Alaska, they are summer residents, year round residents throughout most of the continental US with the exception of the southern US where they are found mainly in winter.
This month I’ve created a Canada Geese coloring page available in a free PDF. To download, simply click here, then print and enjoy!
Canada Goose - flapping its wings...
“Like birds hovering overhead, the Lord Almighty will shield Jerusalem; He will shield it and deliver it, He will ‘pass over’ it and will rescue it.”
- Isaiah 31:5 NIV
Just when I think that I've found every scripture in the Bible about birds, the Lord shows me another one! When I was wondering what verse I should use for this article I came across this verse in Isaiah 31:5. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever read it before but it stood out to me with new meaning. This is a special promise of God’s care to all of His people. We as His children are protected by Him, just as He promised to protect Jerusalem and His people Israel. I think I will always think of this verse now when I see geese flying overhead - their long graceful flight in V formation will be to me a reminder of God’s love for all of us.
By, Jessi Wasell