Canada Geese – Canada’s Bird Brigade

Canada – we are the second largest country in the world (in land area) but we only rank 35th in population. On the world stage, we are really not that significant, and the situation is made worse because we live in the shadow of a country that is like a big brother who will never grow up and move away. It is difficult to be the younger, smaller, almost invisible sibling, but now and then we make our presence known. Our most successful strategy is the exportation of our wonderful nuisance bird, the Canada Goose.

These extremely adaptable big birds have taken to suburban life, and will even forgo migration completely if they find a home that suits their needs. This has led to permanent Canada Geese populations in many locations in the United States. They have few predators because they are such brash and pushy birds. Not very Canadian like, really. They have significant pooping power, which is why we are not all that unhappy to see them move elsewhere.

They endear themselves to many people because they are the signal that the seasons are changing. Their V formation flight, and ceaseless honking bring the welcome news that spring is on the way. In the fall, well, let’s not talk about what they tell us.

8-geese2

The field behind our house is a Goose feeding ground right now. The typical V formation flight is quickly abandoned before they attempt to land. There is much jostling, honking, and disarray as they make their final approach.

8-geese1

Once safely on the ground, they move in a herd across the field, hoovering up the seeds. Late in the day they take off in a group and return to the body of water they call home for the night.  Once all the little ponds are frozen, many of these geese will head south. We will bid them a fond farewell for another season, and will not be too upset if some of them decide to settle down in the warm, hospitable lands of places other than here.

The Feather Files
Name: Branta canadensis
Alias: Canada Goose
Migration: Resident to long-distance migrant. Canada Geese breed throughout North America, except in the high Arctic and in the extreme southern parts of the United States and Mexico.
Date Seen: November, 2011
Location: North of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest possible amount of feathers with the smallest possible amount of hissing.
– Jean Baptiste Colbert –

The American Government is going to revive a $5.50 tariff on all Canadians who enter the United States by air or by sea. The Canadians have hissed and complained about this, but to no avail. Our retaliation will be to send more geese their way…

GOOSE, n. A bird that supplies quills for writing. These, by some occult process of nature, are penetrated and suffused with various degrees of the bird’s intellectual energies and emotional character, so that when inked and drawn mechanically across paper by a person called an “author,” there results a very fair and accurate transcript of the fowl’s thought and feeling. The difference in geese, as discovered by this ingenious method, is considerable: many are found to have only trivial and insignificant powers, but some are seen to be very great geese indeed.
– Ambrose Bierce –

31 comments

  1. If you heard some distant honking, that was me laughing my way thru your post!

    Very funny, great photos, and those two quotes were particularly devastating.

    The States oughta think about enacting a Canadian Goose Tariff– it could pay off our national debt in no time!! Of course, they’d probably pay in poop… : (

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  2. What’s that address on the field behind your house? I need to program it into the geese eating and unloading at our soccer field. Thanks for the Trojan Geese.
    Clever. Clever post.

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    • Hi Barb – A flock of Canada Geese would be a nice Christmas present for your family and friends. Send me your address and I’ll forward it to the Head of Goose deployment…

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  3. Do you eat them? In Germany geese are traditional Christmas food. They are still eaten for Christmas, but I don’t know by whom. I don’t like meat a lot and people I know also prefer other Christmas food. I think we all are somewhat globalized 21st century chefs.

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    • Hi Sanetes – good question! Canada Geese can be hunted from September to December, but we don’t live in a hunting zone. Not that it matters, because we aren’t hunters. For Christmas, we will have our usual turkey with all the trimmings.

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  4. Hi,
    Loved the post, you must love to see these geese finally leave, it must get very loud at times having them in the field out the back.
    Nice photos, and the quotes are great. 🙂

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    • Hi Mags – Actually I love it when the geese arrive. Their honking masks the noise of the warehouse construction crew that is in the field right next to the one the geese are feeding in! Our quiet little corner of the world is now on the edge of suburban sprawl! My only consolation is that there is a nice new water holding pond next to the warehouses, and the geese will love living and pooping there!

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    • Hi winsomebella – No thanks – the geese are our gift to you. If our export plan succeeds, the geese will be renamed American Geese because we don’t have any of them anymore…

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  5. My grandchildren enjoy living in a ‘fly-over zone’….back and forth from a pond about 200 yards beyond the front of their house to the cow pasture and corn field on the other side of the road behind them. Other than dodging the poop, I love the Canada geese..watching them fly, the sound of their call, etc. They really are beautiful.

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    • Hi JSD – I agree that it is pretty wonderful when the geese go over! We’re pretty fortunate here – the geese visit every spring and fall, but haven’t chosen our yard as their toilet.

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  6. I have been “enjoying” another of your exports – the Snow Birds. I probably saw 10 Canadian license plates today…at least they don’t poop everywhere (although they do form long lines at all our favorite restaurants)

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    • Hi k8edid – Glad to hear the Canadians are supporting your restaurant industry! Maybe you will find the lines are shorter if you go to your eatery a little later in the evening…

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  7. This made me laugh! Here too – we have an overpopulation of those ‘Canadian’ Geese. Having grown up ‘Canadian’ – it always makes me wonder….
    Maybe the answer to the American economic woes would be tarriffs on incoming birds???

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    • Hi yearstricken – The temperature is -20C (-4F) here this morning. Since it is even colder in Alaska, we think they are sending us this cold front! With this weather, I expect the geese will be glad to head south!

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  8. Are you referring to the “attack geese”? I laugh loudly when people here in the Northwestern state of Oregon say oh look over there………..GEESE. Arghhh you can have them back. My children have all been subject to the terror these “beautiful” beasts–err birds–as I was saying they have all been chased and some of them have even been nipped on the bum or their hands.

    Did you say you want them back? I would gladly return these beasts to Canada!!!
    Ta Ta for now, Cathy the Bagg Lady

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    • Hi raggz – No, I don’t think I said we wanted them back! Perhaps there is a way you could draft them into the American military – as your new secret weapon!

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