Audubon Field Guide

This big “Honker” is among our best known waterfowl. In many regions, flights of Canada Geese passing over in V formation northbound in spring, southbound in fall are universally recognized as signs of the changing seasons. Once considered a symbol of wilderness, this goose has adapted well to civilization, nesting around park ponds and golf courses; in a few places, it has even become something of a nuisance. Very diverse, using different habitats in different regions; always nests near water, winters where feeding areas are within commuting distance of water. habitats include tundra, fresh marshes, salt marshes, lakes in wooded country. Often feeds in open fields, especially in winter. In recent years, also resident in city parks, suburban ponds.

This big “Honker” is among our best known waterfowl. In many regions, flights of Canada Geese passing over in V formation northbound in spring, southbound in fall are universally recognized as signs of the changing seasons. Once considered a symbol of wilderness, this goose has adapted well to civilization, nesting around park ponds and golf courses; in a few places, it has even become something of a nuisance. Feeds in flocks at most seasons.4 7, sometimes 2 11. White, becoming nest stained. Incubation is by female, 25 28 days; male stands guard nearby. : Parents lead young from nest 1 2 days after hatching. are tended by both parents, but feed themselves. are tended by both parents, but feed themselves. Feeds on very wide variety of plants. Eats stems and shoots of grasses, sedges, aquatic plants, also seeds and berries; consumes many cultivated grains (especially on refuges, where crops planted for geese). Male defends territory with displays, including lowering head almost to ground with bill slightly raised and open, hissing; also pumps head up and down while standing. Nest site (chosen by female) is usually on slightly elevated dry ground near water, with good visibility. Much variation; may nest on cliff ledges, on muskrat houses, in trees, on artificial platforms. Nest (built by female) is slight depression with shallow bowl of sticks, grass, weeds, moss, lined with down.

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