Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Coastal BC Birds: Canada Geese

The Canada Geese have returned to Powell Lake. For the last two weeks we've heard their early morning calls as they take flight out of Hole in the Wall. This morning, Wayne saw a flight of about 25 birds in formation passing over our cabin and then banking in unison down First Narrows towards the lower part of Powell Lake.

The Canada Goose makes its nest near the water's edge. The Hole in the Wall is perfect since it is calm with a shallow shoreline. Mating-pairs are known to stay together for life. Mating occurs in the spring on the water. A clutch of 2-8 eggs hatch in about a month and the chicks grow to sufficient size in 6-7 weeks to begin flying. By late summer, it is hard to distinguish the kids from their parents, except for the order of the procession on land or in the water. Often, we will see the whole brood paddle out of the Hole past our cabin.

During summer, the Canada Goose goes through molting. The flight feathers that are worn out from long migratory trips are shed leaving the birds unable to fly for up to 8-10 weeks. During this flightless period they prefer areas near lakes or ponds for security from predators. When geese gather in large numbers during the molting season it can be very damaging to local vegetation, not to mention messy. Fortunately, in the Hole we usually only get one nesting pair. We enjoy their presence and look forward to Mom and Dad showing off the kids as they grow.

Do you have any bird stories yet? What's happening in your area? -- Margy


  1. Anonymous9:21 AM

    We have a small lake here in the park and a couple of years ago there were far to many geese and the board decided to allow the people here to let their dogs chase them to cut down on the number that were here. The funny thing is all of the dogs here are smaller then the geese and the geese chase back.~Betty~

  2. I've heard they use geese instead of watchdogs in some places. I can just see those little dogs on the run. - Margy