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Facts About Giant Canada Geese


Giant Canada Goose (Branta Canadensis maximachloropus)

The Giant Canada goose, once abundant across the plains, was thought to be extinct as a result of market hunting and egg collecting for domestic flocks and live decoys. However, pockets of Giant Canada's were found in various locations (including Silver Lake in Rochester, Minnesota) in the 1960's, and public and private efforts were undetaken to help the species, which is now doing quite well.

Habitat: Lakes, bays, marshes, prairies, grainfields; in summer also tundra

Range: Southern to north-eastern California and throughout central and western United States. Winters from Alaska, southern Canada to Mexico

Characteristics: The adult goose is gray-brown with a black head and neck and a light-colored breast. The most outstanding characteristic is the white patch running onto each side of the head. The bill and legs are black. The feet have 3 webbed toes pointing forward, a fourth toe points backward.

Behavior: These geese are social birds but only mingle with their own kind. Mates are fiercely loyal to each other and believed to mate for life. The larger the family the greater their status in the flock. This goose constantly feeds while wintering. When traveling, they fly in V-formation 3,000 or more feet in the air at a speed of 40 miles per hour. Migrating to the north, they return to the marshes where they were born.

Reproduction: Breeding takes place on the water. The female lays 2 to 9 dull white eggs. Both birds do the incubating which takes 25 to 28 days. The hatchlings use an egg tooth to break through the shell. The parents stay close by after hatching to bond with their young.

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