The Canada Goose, native to North America, is a commonly seen symbol of Canada, easily recognized by its black head and neck with a white 'chinstrap'. As autumn rolls in and the air turns crisp, the Columbia Valley and the wetlands near Fairmont Hot Springs Resort become busy with migrating geese. Declining numbers in the 1950's and an estimated 1 million geese population in North America, has been revived with wildlife management. The Canada Goose is now flourishing and researchers have estimated there are more than 8 million Canada Geese in North America today. Communicating to each other through loud honking, the sight of a quickly moving V-formation heading south is one of the earliest signs winter is on the way.
Six AMAZING THINGS YOU DIDN'T KNOW About Canada Geese:
- Canada Geese Mate for Life: Canada Geese, like swans, are monogamous and most couples stay together throughout their lifetime. The average lifespan is 10-25 years. They raise and protect their young together and also protect each other throughout their lives. It is possible that when a goose dies, the survivor may find a new partner.
- Canada Geese Mourn: Canadian Geese are very emotional creatures. When a Canada Goose loses its mate or eggs, they have been observed to mourn. They may remove themselves from the flock and stay by themselves and swim around in despair honking mournfully.
- Canada Geese are Loyal: Canada Geese are extremely devoted and look out for each other. When a mate is injured or dying, its partner will stay with them, even if the flock is moving on.
- Canada Geese Share the Lead: Following the same route year after year, the larger, stronger birds lead their flock to the wintering grounds. The lead position consumes the most energy, and different geese take turns in lead.
- Canada Geese Move Quickly: Scientists using radio transmitters have tracked geese that have flown 1000 km in one day.
- Canada Geese Communicate: Researchers have discovered Canada Geese have around 13 different calls, ranging from warnings, greetings, contentment calls and honks indicating gathering times. Adults begin communicating with their young while they are still in the egg. When migrating they honk encouragement to each other, and indicate directions.
Next time you hear the loud honking of a flock of Canada Geese travelling overhead, take a moment to watch them. They are fascinating symbols of Canada.