Canada geese belong to a household of birds referred to as waterfowl that also includes ducks and swans. Over there are many kinds the Canada geese - 11 different races in north America. The birds that primarily migrate to our region in the Pacific Flyway are called western Canada geese. A scattering the one smaller sized race described as the "lesser" Canada goose additionally is discovered here seasonally. In fall and winter, the intermountain west Canada goose population migrates from central British Columbia and Alberta come the Mid-Columbia and other basins as far south as California and Arizona. In spring, many birds return to north lands come nest and raise your broods before heading southern again to warmer climates. Some geese continue to be in the Columbia container throughout the year, but most simply rest prior to continuing your journey. Biologists calculation that, at times, at least 20,000 geese winter in the Columbia Basin.

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What do Canada geese look at like?No one have the right to miss the clean honking call of Canada geese flying in v-shaped development or the sight of their streamlined bodies: black-stockinged heads, white-banded throats and also cheeks. Webbed feed assist them swim and dive. All races that Canada geese have actually black bills, legs, and feet; gray-brown come dark-brown back and wings; and a white rump and belly. Lock have strong necks and wings. Goose feathers are layered and also shed water to store the birds dry and trap heat air alongside their bodies. Male western Canada geese weigh about 10 pounds, females about 8 pounds.

How perform Canada geese live?Western Canada geese live in marshy areas, ponds, and also streams and nest top top riverbanks and islands. They each other in spring in nests made the twigs, grasses, and also weeds. Colonies are lined through down, plucked indigenous the female"s breast, which offers excellent insulation because that the incubating eggs. After ~ hatching, the young geese live with their parents for about 1 year, climate look for a mate. Canada geese save the exact same mate because that life. In the Columbia Basin, Canada geese nest on islands in the Snake and also Columbia rivers. Due to the fact that 1953 scientists have counted colonies on 20 Columbia river islands. On the average, 200 swarms are found each year.

At sunrise and also sunset geese scatter indigenous wetland areas to feed. In the Mid-Columbia you"ll regularly see them in corn or wheat fields eating new shoots and also grain left over from harvest. Geese also eat the pipeline or root of water plants, grasses, and insects. When they"re not eating, geese rest and also preen on island shorelines or to rise in groups on open up water.


How execute Canada geese migrate?How geese uncover their way thousands that miles in between summer and winter homes is tho a mystery. Although scientists understand when and also where geese migrate, no one is sure just exactly how they discover their way. Part think Canada geese navigate through memory and topography, the shape of a mountain, contour of a flow or stream, or that they carry inside some type of compass connected to Earth"s magnetic field. Others think migrating geese usage positions that the sun and stars to help navigation.

Scientists do recognize that geese fly at altitudes in between 1000 and also 3000 feet and that they deserve to fly over 12,000-foot hill peaks. They paris day or night in all type of weather at speeds of up to 40 come 45 miles every hour. Some Canada geese paris in apricot of up to 1000 birds, but western Canada geese commonly stick to little family-sized flocks. Return watching Canada geese fly in the characteristic "v" is a nice sight, there"s much an ext to the formation than beauty. Paris in a "v" reduces air resistance, enabling geese to paris farther in formation than they can individually.

"Science is created of facts together a home is the stones. However a repertoire of facts is no an ext a science than a heap the stones is a house." Henri Poincare

Keep in mental this truth sheet is intended to be provided only as background details to support your initiative to encourage inquiry-based science, which parallels the way scientists i found it knowledge and solve problems.


Take a pilgrimage to the McNary national Wildlife Refuge, Burbank Slough Wildlife Trail.To get to the refuge native the Tri-Cities, take it U.S. Highway 12 toward Walla Walla. ~ you overcome the snake River, turn left at the second road after ~ the bridge (Maple Street). Around one-half mile eastern of U.S. 12 revolve left onto south Lake Road, and also park in the designated area top top the right side the the road. Walk throughout the roadway to the trailhead, whereby refuge bird lists are available. Follow the 1-mile loop trail with tall cattails and also reeds surrounding a pond. Save your ears and eyes open up for Canada geese. Keep walking v a thick was standing of Russian olive trees and over a small footbridge come an opening whereby you have the right to scan the pond because that geese, an excellent blue herons, American coots, and also many other species, depending on the time of year friend go. Monitor the trail with a stand of sagebrush back to southern Lake Road. Other great places come watch migrating Canada geese are along the Columbia flow shoreline and also at the Columbia national Wildlife Refuge northwest the Othello.

Learn bird topography.While in ~ the refuge, practice identifying birds. Here are some inquiries you might ask while bird watching:

How big is the bird? Is the large, medium, or small? to compare its dimension with the of various other birds friend know, to speak a robin, pigeon, or sparrow. Does the fly, swim, or wade? dip its head beneath the water come feed prefer a west grebe? Soar choose a red-winged hawk or perch in the trees?

What form is the bird? walk it have long legs prefer a good blue heron or a lengthy wedge-tipped tail prefer a magpie? walk it have a quick bill or large pouch favor a white pelican?

What color is the bird? go it have a glowing yellow breast crossed through black v prefer a western meadowlark, or is the a dull born with little black horns prefer a horned lark? does it have a fancy patch ~ above its wing choose a red-winged blackbird, or is it a heavy color, like an American crow?

What does it sound like? Does the coo prefer a mourning dove or hoot favor a an excellent horned owl?


Birds of the Tri-Cities and Vicinity, 1991. Howard R. Ennor, lower Columbia basin Audubon Society, Richland, Washington.Ducks, Geese, & Swans of north America, 1982. Frank C. Bellrose, Wildlife management Institute, Washington, D.C.The Canada Goose, 1990. Kit Howard Breen, Voyageur Press, Stillwater, Minnesota.Waterfowl Tomorrow, 1964. Joseph P. Linduska, U.S. Room of the Interior, GPO, Washington, D.C.Wild Goose Country, 1992. Michael Furtman, north Word Press, Minocqua, Wisconsin.

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This reality sheet was occurred by the Arid Lands field Institute, regulated by the University center for skilled Education, Washington State college Tri-Cities. Manufacturing was made possible by a grant from Battelle Memorial Institute. Collection Editor: Georganne O"Connor; Design: WinSome Design; Printing: Eagle Printing and also Graphic Design; very first printing, September 1997. Internet Development: WinSome Design.