Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
Can you spot any signs of geese around you? Listen for honks or look near the pond for tracks, droppings, or the large black and brown birds themselves. Did you know just 50 geese can produce two and a half tons of excrement in a year? Watch your step!
Canada geese are some of the most common birds in the Great Lakes region, but they can live anywhere throughout the southern US and northern Mexico, depending on the time of year. They typically eat plants like grass, corn, and grains, but have also been seen to eat insects and fish. Because these foods can’t survive winter, Canada geese tend to flock south to find tasty meals, and Vs of migrating geese in the sky has been an iconic symbol of seasonal change for generations.
As Earth’s climates warm and temperatures increase, lakes and rivers freeze later, and plants can survive longer in places normally covered in snow. Now, Canada geese are migrating months later in the fall — if they even migrate at all. In many areas across the United States, these geese are now considered residential year-round. Because they thrive in developed areas like neighborhoods and parks, geese are often seen as pests because of their food begging, droppings, and territorial attitudes.These adaptive once-dwindling birds are more than happy to live alongside humans, but are losing their migratory instincts, and are often seen as overstaying their welcome. There are winners and losers with climate change, and geese can be considered winners — but how does this affect the plants, animals, and habitats around them?