The Canada Goose
The Branta Canadensis, better known as the Canada Goose is a magnificent bird which can be found all over North America. People from all over North America look towards the sky when the Canada Geese go honking overhead in their trademark "V" formation, and because they nest all over Canada and some of the United States many people have a chance to witness the birds migration to the nesting grounds and back to the wintering grounds. The Canada Goose is respected by so many of us because of it's dignity and courage and refusal to give up. Over the years the Canada Goose has picked up many slang names, some of these are: Canadian Goose, Canadian Honker, Honker, Honker Goose, Big Honker, Old Honker, Boy Goose, Bernache (French for Barnacle Goose), Big Mexican Goose, Blackee, Blacknecked Goose, Brant, French Goose, Northern Goose, Reef Goose, Ringneck, Wavy, and White-cheeked Goose (Wormer).
The Canada Goose has excellent eyesight which makes it difficult to hunt because the Goose can see the hunter well before the hunter ever sees the goose (Wormer). This eyesight is essential for flying though, a Canada Goose can see three quarters of a sphere without moving its head (Wormer). The Canada Goose also has an acute sense of hearing, it's ears are positioned on the side of it's head (Wormer). They have either no sense of smell or a very poor one, but this does not impede the goose in any way (Wormer). Although there is a large variation in size all subspecies of Canada Geese look the same physically (Wormer) The male and female Canada Goose look almost exactly the same except the female can usually be recognized because it is smaller and less aggressive (Wormer). Colors also vary but, the color pattern is generally the same for all the subspecies (Godfrey). The head and neck are dark black with a large white patch on each cheek which meet under the chin, this is the Canada Goose's most easily recognized characteristic because it is unique to the Canada Goose (Wormer). The upper parts of the body as well as the wings are greyish brown, the feathers tipped with brownish white (Godfrey). The tail is black with the upper tail coverts white and the under tail coverts are white also (Godfrey). The under body is brownish grey with paler feather tips, the sides being the darkest and the lower belly is white (Godfrey). The feathers of the breast commonly called down are broad and square tipped (Godfrey). The bill and legs are dark black, and the iris of the eye is brown with a black pupil (Wormer). The Canada Goose in it's first Autumn and Winter is similar to the adults but breast feathers are narrower, softer and more rounded, the outer primaries on the other hand are less rounded than those of a mature adult (Godfrey). The Canada Goose color pattern works as a great disguise, when lying flat with the neck outstretched the Canada Goose looks like a clump of grass and dirt and difficult to distinguish as a goose even on snow or ice (Wormer). All goslings of all subspecies of the Canada Goose look identical (Breen). Goslings are bright yellow and weigh less than one pound when hatched, after two weeks they way two pounds, after one month their weight is three to four pounds and their color is a dull grey, after six weeks a color pattern can be seen and inclination to fly i.e.. running on top of the water flapping it's wings, after eight weeks they look like adult and weigh six to seven pounds and some are able to fly others begin to fly in their ninth week, further growth depends on the subspecies (Breen). There are eleven subspecies of the Canada Goose but the characteristics that separate them usually cannot be seen from a distance (Wormer). Branta Canadensis Minima, also known as the Cackling Canada Goose is the smallest of all subspecies weighing only two and a half to four pounds (Wormer). It is the darkest in color and has the highest pitch call (Wormer). Branta Canadensis Hutchinsii, also...
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