In some ways, it’s unfortunate that these regal birds have adapted so well to human environments. Some see Canada geese as pests because they leave their droppings on golf courses, parks, trails, and lawns. But gardeners should consider the positive side of things: free fertilizer. These waterfowl are handsome, wary, and fiercely protective of their young. And the plaintive honking of Canada geese as they migrate northward in spring—maybe to stop at a pond near you, is both haunting and welcome.
LOOK for a big, proud, gray bird with black legs, a black neck and head, and a bright white “saddle” on the cheeks and chin.
LISTEN for the fascinating sounds geese make: honks, of course, but also clucks, moans, groans, cackles, and all the other chitter-chatter of the goose “language.”
STAY AWAY from goslings, or be ready for Mother and Father Goose’s hissing approach.
ATTRACT geese with grains such as corn, wheat, or rice spread on the ground.
DID YOU KNOW that several Canada goose subspecies exist, from the 3 to 4-pound Richardson’s variety to 12 to 15-pound giant Canada geese?
— Tom Carpenter
Photo: Ron Austing