Canadian Goose

One of the messiest birds that you’ll find on our campus is the Canadian Goose:

File:Canada goose.jpg

(Original image licensed Creative Commons Attribution)

What they look like: The Canada goose is a wild goose, native to northern regions of the world. It has a black head and neck, white patches on the face, and a brownish-gray body which distinguish them from other goose species.

They have black legs and webbed toes which are used to help them swim. The males and females look virtually identical.

Where you’ll see them: Canada geese live mostly in northern parts of North America and Europe. Canada geese migrate and come to the United States in the winter.

In the summer they breed and live in the arctic regions of Europe, Canada, and Alaska. Many geese permanently live in Canada which is where they get the name Canada geese.

What they sound like: Canada geese have a high-pitched honk. They use it to communicate. Canada geese have 13 different calls for different things like greeting, warnings and contentment.

Geese are probably the most talkative animals after humans. Goslings begin communicating with their parents when they’re still in their eggs!

When do they migrate: Canada geese usually migrate twice a year; once in the fall and once in the spring. In the fall, the geese migrate when the ground starts feeling cold. They go fast, travelling up to 1,000 kilometers a day.

In the spring they go much slower, making many stops for rest and feeding along the way before reaching their breeding grounds in Canada and northern Europe.

The v-shaped flock of geese migrating is probably used for two reasons. One is to create an air current so it will be easier for the geese to fly and the other is to allow better communication for when they fly.

 Where you can learn more:

http://www.ducks.ca/resource/general/wetland/geese.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada_geese

 

Written by Bennie G.

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American Woodcock

One of the smallest birds you can find on the Salem campus is the American Woodcock:

File:American Woodcock Scolopax minor.jpg

(Original image licensed Creative Commons Attribution)

What They Look Like: These little birds are kind of fat with no neck showing. They have a very long bill, like a sandpiper, that can dig up earthworms easily. They are usually brown and black all over, but they have been seen with a white belly.

Most of the time, these birds are hard to spot because of their camouflage skills. You will most likely see them either in the morning time or dusk, but rarely the afternoon.

Where You’ll See Them: This tiny bird is very hard to find, but if you do it’ll probably be on or near the ground. They also lay their eggs on the ground or in the soil. They live all through forests, mostly near water. This is why the forest behind our school is the perfect environment for these birds.

What They Eat: Woodcocks are supposedly omnivores, but they are seldom seen eating plants. They enjoy earthworms, centipedes, spiders, beetles and many others.

What They Sound Like: These birds are only heard at dusk or during the night in the forest. Only males call, usually sounding like chirping. We did not hear their call, but we did spot one on the forest floor near the “scum pond”.

Written by Bennie G.