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Sunday, February 4, 2018

Sunday's Sequel Regarding Canadian Geese (The bird type featured in Friday's post.)

The photograph atop this entry features a prominent (and feisty) member of the Canadian Geese family. He/she is spending time in the lake within Central Park while a lone female Mallard duck (at the left) observes (with amusement) the silly goose.

This so-called silly goose earned his/her "nickname" upon making observations re this past Friday (which was Groundhog Day) that were discussed in a recent blog entry. However, Canadian geese, as silly as they can be at times, have many cool facts attributed to them.

According to a web-page, "Hunters believe that Canadian geese are the smartest birds."

The page goes on to say, that "they find it very interesting that the geese are monogamous throughout their lives unless their mate dies...  Canadian geese also have mostly monocular vision..."

Wikipedia explains that Monocular vision "is vision in which both eyes are used separately. By using the eyes in this way, as opposed by binocular vision, the field of view is increased, while depth perception is limited."

I also have Monocular vision due to very poor vision in the left eye. In my case, I also have other eye conditions that include: Keratoconus (KC) and pellucid marginal degeneration (left eye), Staphyloma, and Optic atrophy.

Keratoconus (KC) and pellucid marginal degeneration (PMD) are generally progressive conditions in which thinning occurs in the central, paracentral, or peripheral cornea, resulting in asymmetric corneal steepening and reduced spectacle-corrected visual acuity.

A staphyloma is an abnormal protrusion of the uveal tissue through a weak point in the eyeball. The protrusion is generally black in colour, due to the inner layers of the eye. It occurs due to weakening of outer layer of eye (cornea or sclera) by an inflammatory or degenerative condition.

Optic atrophy is an end stage that arises from myriad causes of optic nerve damage anywhere along the path from the retina to the lateral geniculate. Since the optic nerve transmits retinal information to the brain, optic atrophy is associated with vision loss.

In terms of Canadian geese, their monocular vision does not impair them. Evidently, "they have very good eyesight. They can see more than 180 degrees horizontally and vertically which is very useful during flight."

Other interesting facts re Canadian geese are that "they have a large lifespan. As an extreme, some can live up to twenty four years in the wild. However, most die within the first year of their life because of predators... Canadian geese can travel more than 1000 kilometers in a day while migrating. The circumference of the world is 40008 km. This means that they could fly around the world in approximately 40 days!"

Another web-page (associated with American Expedition), has this to day re Canadian geese: "The Canada goose is the largest goose in the world, with the subspecies "giant Canada goose" having specimens weighing over 20 pounds. Typically, however, most full grown Canada geese weigh between five and 14 pounds, with females weighing slightly smaller than the males. Full grown Canada geese measure between 30 to 45 inches in length and have a wingspan between 50 and 75 inches... The Canada goose can be distinguished from other species of geese by its distinguished black neck and head, by a striking white "chinstrap" on the neck, and by a lightly colored breast and a brown back. Like other geese, they have an elongated neck, as well as webbed feet, and both of these adaptations make them quite agile in the water when they are going after food."

The aforementioned page also cites the following facts re this bird type:

"Canada geese live around 10-25 years on average in the wild, although some may live to be as old as 30. One goose lived to be 40 years old in captivity.

Canada geese mate for life, and will begin searching for a mate between 2-3 years of age. If a mate dies, the goose will try to find another mating partner.

Canada geese migrate in order to return to the area where they were born for mating and nesting.
Baby geese, called goslings, are incredibly impressionable and will follow virtually anything that moves, thinking it to be their mother. They have been known to follow dogs, ducks, and humans, and this behavior can be quite endearing.

Less than 24 hours after they are born, goslings will be lead to water by their parents to learn how to swim. The goslings will be able to dive 30-40 feet underwater by the time they are 1 day old.
Canada geese will violently attack anything that they sense as a threat to their goslings, including humans.

As they become more independent of their parents, groups of goslings may join together, forming "gang broods" of up to 100 goslings.

Goslings learn to fly between 2-3 months of age. For the first year of their lives, they stay with their parents, and will follow their parents during their first migration before forming into groups with other young geese.

When a goose feels threatened, it will stretch out its neck and honk loudly. It may also hiss, bite, and slap at the perceived threat with its wings. Once every year, typically during warm weather, geese will molt their feathers, and will be unable to fly for a period of about 6 weeks. During this time they will stay close to water in order to have a means to escape predators on land.

Common predators of geese are coyotes, foxes, raccoons, crows, wolves, owls, bears, and eagles.

Canada geese were once in decline due to destruction of their habitat and over hunting, but their numbers have rebounded considerably."

American Expedition also points out that Canadian "geese breed in northern sections of North America, typically Canada and the northern half the United States. In some temperate areas it is warm enough for them to be year round residents of their range, and they may not migrate. Some groups of Canada geese have even taken up permanent residence in areas that would not seem hospitable to year round residency, as north as Esquimalt, British Columbia and as southern as Florida. (They) like to select nesting sites on elevated, secluded areas near bodies of water like lakes, streams, and ponds. The female goose builds a nest lined with plant material and down that she plucks from her body, and lays an egg each day in until a full clutch of five or so eggs is laid. The male geese acts as a sentry, watching the nest from a nearby location."

I'm very grateful for the aforementioned sources that have allowed me to learn more about this amazing bird type and I will leave you with photographs that I took of Canadian Geese (when I was in Central Park this past Thursday).

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