Bird Identification – Canada Goose

Of the millions of migrants that stream across the sky every spring and autumn, none attract so much attention as the wild geese. How their mellow honk, honk thrills one when the birds pass like ships in the night! Such big, strong, rapid flyers have little to fear in travelling by daylight too, but gunners have taught them the wisdom of keeping up so high that they look like mere specks. It must be a very dull child without imagination, who is not stirred by the flight of birds that are launched on a journey of at least two thousand miles. Don’t you wish you were as familiar with the map as these migrants must be? Usually geese travel in a wedge-shaped flock, headed by some old, experienced leader; but sometimes, with their long necks outstretched, they follow one another in Indian file and shoot across the clouds as straight as an arrow.

Geese spend much more time on land than ducks do. If you will study the habits of the common barnyard goose you will learn many of the ways of its wild relations that nest too far north to be watched by “every child.” Canada geese that have been wounded by sportsmen in the fall, can be kept on a farm perfectly contented all winter; but when the honking flocks return from the south in March or April, they rarely resist “the call of the wild,” and away they go toward their kin and freedom.