2013 Envirothon

What is the proper name: Canada goose, or Canadian goose?
Canada goose
What makes them easy to identify?
long graceful necks with bold black and white marks
What formation do they make when flying?
large V
What is the benefit to moving on large flocks?
more eyes and ears to hear predators and look for food; appears larger to predator and they are then less likely to attack
Why is flying in V formation a benefit?
~conserves energy by reducing the drag force if each bird flew alone
~lead bird gets more tired, facing the undisturbed air, and drops back to rest
~allows geese to communicate better and have more eye contact
Describe a Canada goose
~large and plump, weighing 13 pounds
~short legs, allowing them to easily walk on land for food far from water
~broad round bill
~webbed feet
What is a lamellae?
teeth used for cutting around the outside of the broad, round-tipped bill
Compare male and female
male goose is a gander
male is about 36″ in length
female a little smaller and lighter, but they look the same
Where do they nest?
variety of habitats, but are fond of islands in rivers and lakes with an open view; on top of old osprey or heron nests, or muskrat dens, or man-made nesting sites, or grassy areas near water
Describe the nest
female builds it
ground depression nest lined with sticks, cattails, reeds, grasses or down feathers plucked from her breast
Describe eggs
four to ten creamy white eggs are incubated for nearly a month with the male standing guard
The goslings are precocial. What does that mean?
able to walk and swim soon after hatching, although covered with brown fuzzy down
Describe first week
both parents stay with goslings; goose broods them at night (sits on them to keep them safe and warm)
Describe mating
Once a gander and goose have mated, they will remain together as long as they are both alive. If one dies, the other will seek another mate
What caused the goose population to drop?
unregulated hunting years ago
What has helped geese rebuild their numbers?
Pennsylvania’s strict hunting season and bag limits; similar wildlife management techniques have also helped the whitetailed deer, black bear and wild turkey populations
How has the state’s agricultural industry helped?
Unintentionally! Geese have developed a preference for grains and cereal crops found in PA, even though they are known for feeding on aquatic vegetation