Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
Note: this post, while published, is a work in progress, as are all posts in this series, My Photo Life List. My goal is to photograph every species of bird that is seen on a regular basis here in Michigan, working from a list compiled by the Michigan chapter of the Audubon Society. This will be a lifelong project, that I began in January of 2013, and as I shoot better photos of this, or any other species, I will update the post for that species with better photos when I can. While this series is not intended to be a field guide per se, my minimum standard for the photos in this series is that one has to be able to make a positive identification of the species in my photos. The information posted here is from either my observations or the Wikipedia, the online free encyclopedia, however, I have personally shot all the photos appearing in this series.
Canada Goose, Branta canadensis, another very common waterfowl, since I just did mallards, I thought that I may as well knock this one out too.
This species is native to North America. It breeds in Canada and the northern United States in a variety of habitats. Its nest is usually located in an elevated area near water such as streams, lakes, ponds and sometimes on a beaver lodge. Its eggs are laid in a shallow depression lined with plant material and down.
By the early 20th century, over-hunting and loss of habitat in the late 19th century and early 20th century had resulted in a serious decline in the numbers of this bird in its native range. The Giant Canada Goose subspecies was believed to be extinct in the 1950’s until, in 1962, a small flock was discovered wintering in Rochester, Minnesota, by Harold Hanson of the Illinois Natural History Survey. With improved game laws and habitat recreation and preservation programs, their populations have recovered in most of their range, although some local populations, especially of the subspecies occidentalis, may still be declining.
In recent years, Canada Goose populations in some areas have grown substantially, so much so that many consider them pests for their droppings, bacteria in their droppings, noise, and confrontational behavior. This problem is partially due to the removal of natural predators and an abundance of safe, man-made bodies of water near food sources, such as those found on golf courses, in public parks and beaches, and in planned communities. Due in part to the interbreeding of various migratory subspecies with the introduced non-migratory Giant subspecies, Canada Geese are frequently a year-around feature of such urban environments.
To me, the Canada geese mark the changing of the seasons. Seeing and hearing large flocks in the familiar “V” formations winging their way south in the fall, then north again to signal that spring is near. They also represent the comeback that wildlife can make once we learn not to attempt to kill them all off, although some, who see them as a nuisance, may feel differently. They are also a symbol of the north, less developed and more wild areas of Michigan, for when I was growing up, seeing one near where I lived was a rarity, other than during their migration.
On to the photos, and since it’s fairly easy to get a shot like this of one on the ground….
…or like this…
…most of the rest of the photos will be of them in flight. But first, a shot of one doing one of the things geese do best, honking.
Well, maybe two honkers honking.
Now for the flight photos.
This is number 33 in my photo life list, only 317 to go!
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!