To continue the Bird Team’s blog posts on different types of birds around the University of Virginia campus, I would like to discuss The Canadian goose who can be spotted by the Dell Pond.
While visiting the Dell Pond on April 7th, there were two of the Canadian geese swimming in the Dell Pond. Unfortunately I was not able to get a close up picture of the geese because they were swimming in the middle of the water. This picture above is a better quality picture and gives detail into what the birds look like from up close.
After looking into what kind of goose this could be, I realized that it looked like the Canadian goose because of the specific details on the body. This bird has a black head and neck, specifically a chinstrap, which distinguishes it from other types of geese. Accompanying the black head and neck are white patches along the sides of the bird’s face.
While watching these geese interact with one another, it was evident that they like to be in groups. The geese seemed very gentle while in the water, but are known to be somewhat aggressive if they are frightened, threatened or in some sort of danger. The birds did not seem to act aggressive towards people sitting around Dell Pond, which leads me to believe they only act this way if provoked.
The Canadian geese come from the Northern regions as migrants to places farther south. The species tends to fly from place to place in a V form and their species in general has grown significantly.
With the development of more and more hand made, man made ponds and bodies of waters, these geese tend to thrive off of the areas because there are rich sources of food and a comfortable environment for them to live. Also with the development of these man made bodies of water, their primary predators have been displaced and or out of their radar. This is another reason for their growth in population.
Their predators include foxes, coyotes, raccoons, crows, and other animals that have been pushed away from places like the Dell Pond because of the urban areas and people around. The predators usually feast on the eggs of the geese. Although the geese are very defensive against these animals due to their aggressive behavior when confronted, they still prefer to live in areas such as The Dell Pond because they feel safer.
The habitat of the Dell Pond is perfect for the geese because they are in an area away from main predators, for the most part, and it is a hand made and fresh water pond. The Canadian goose is sensitive to salinity, which the Dell Pond does not have.
THE CANADIAN GOOSE NOISES:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjIR5doazW4: This is a link to watch the goose on a normal day and the movements he makes. Also, this link includes the honking sound of the Canadian goose, as well.
Another link that provides all of the different honks, hisses, barks and cackles of these geese is provided below:
Cornell Lab of Ornithology—Birdcalls
Post by Caitlin Howard, Third-Year, Anthropology