Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)

Fig 1 Gosling
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)

The Canada Goose is an introduced species to the U.K coming originally from the North American continent and Canada hence its name. They are a semi tame feral bird which has expanded out from parks and private domestic animals kept for food or pets. They were first imported to Europe in the 17th Century (fig 1)This Gosling which exhibit the bright yellow plumage of the young birds that will turn to distinctive black headed goose as it ages with a mainly greyish body. This colour change happens when the bird is still not at full maturity.

Fig 2 a young bird displaying The distinctive colouring and feather pattern of the Canada Goose but still underdeveloped . Some parent birds also lose their flight feathers but regain them about the same time as the gosling is ready to fly. I believe the bird in fig2 to be a young bird as it was without young and its feathers are still a dull colour compared to the adult.

Fig 3 Adult with gosling

The Canada goose is known for being a monogamous bird and mating for life they take a mate at about 2-3 years of age and can be with the same partner for their whole life which is up to about 25 years in the wild. They will only take another partner is one of the birds dies.

The Canada Goose diet consists of vegetation roots and grasses and the birds can often be seen grazing on fields by lakes and open water. The Canada goose is considered to be noisy bird which makes a loud honking sound; this can lead to them being considered a pest in some places in addition to their grazing on crops.
The adult birds protect their young from predators in quite a violent way often puffing themselves up and flapping their powerful wings and even chasing and pecking anything that gets to close to the nest or goslings.

Images taken with Canon 50d and a Sigma 70-200 2.8. I used a long lens to take many of the pictures in order to take close up images of the young birds. This was not because it is very difficult to photograph them due to there semi tame nature but so as not to stress the adults that I was going to close to their young. I went to a local park to take these images as I have always been interested in this striking large bird having been pecked by one as a child. I was pleased with the wide age range of the birds I was able to take at a single point in time with the young gosling the juvenile birds and the adults all being within one large grouping. I feel that the final image of the group clearly shows the strong parenting instincts of the species and shows them in a relaxed way which means I had given them enough space so as not to cause undue stress to the birds.

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Posted on July 17, 2011, in Wildlife. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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