Order: ANSERIFORMES Family: Geese and Ducks (Anatidae)
Often called the Canadian Goose, the Canada Goose is 16-25 inches long with a wingspan of 50-68 inches. Both the male and female are large long-necked geese with black bills, black heads and necks with white throat patches that extend up the cheek. The body is brown with a brownish-white breast and belly. At least 11 subspecies of Canada Goose have been recognized and as of 2004 some of the smaller subspecies were designated their own species like the Cackling Goose.
One of the fist signs of spring is the shifting flocks of Canada Geese migrating in a long, honking, irregular “V” across sky. Flying in “V” formations conserves their energy. Each bird flies slightly above the bird in front of him, resulting in a reduction of wind resistance. It also allows each bird an unobstructed field of vision, so flock members can see each other and communicate while in flight.
Canada geese can be found on various habitats, more often in open areas around wetlands. They mate for life and both parents raise the young. While their eggs are incubating females lose their flight feathers, so they cannot fly until after their eggs hatch. A group of geese has many collective nouns, including a "blizzard", "chevron", "knot", "plump", and "string" of geese.