Education: Wild Facts

Canada Goose & Goslings

Scientific Name: Branta canadensis

Common Names: Canada goose

Basic Animal Group: Bird

Lifespan: 10 to 20 years in the wild

Diet: Mostly herbivorous

Habitat: Native to arctic and temperate North America

Goslings have one of the strongest bonds to their families of any bird. They remain with their parents for about a year and often longer than that. Geese are very loyal. They mate for life and are very protective of their partners and offspring.

Canada geese are mostly herbivores. They eat grass and aquatic plants.

Canada goose eggs and goslings are preyed by raccoons, foxes, coyotes, ravens, crows, and gulls.

• Canada geese seek mates when they are two years old.

• Both parents incubate the eggs, but the female spends more time on the nest than the male.

• The goslings hatch 25 to 28 days after the eggs are laid.

Goslings can walk, swim, and find food immediately upon hatching but they are very vulnerable to predators, so their parents especially the gander, fiercely protect them. Goslings are able to fly when they are about 3 months old. They will stay with their parents and follow them back the following year to the place where they were born. When eating in water, they tip up reaching underwater to water plants with their heads beneath the surface and their rear ends sticking up in the air (it’s very funny to observe).

Most Canada geese undertake a seasonal migration and they fly in a unique V-shaped formation at an altitude of 1 km.

If a goose’s mate or chicks become sick or injured, he or she will often refuse to leave their side, even if winter is approaching and the other geese in the group are flying south.

The Cooper’s Hawk & Backyard Songbirds

• The Cooper’s hawk was named in 1828 by Charles Lucien Bonaparte in honor of his friend and fellow ornithologist, William C. Cooper.

• Cooper’s hawks are known as very aggressive predators. Given their dietary habits, these hawks have been often described as an “avian outlaw” and “a relentless tyrant and murderer of small birds”. Cooper’s Hawks capture their prey with their feet.

Cooper’s hawks are agile medium-sized raptors native to the North American continent. They have hooked bills that are well adapted for tearing the flesh of prey, as is typical of raptors. As in many birds of prey, the males are smaller than the females. Cooper’s hawks are native to North America and found from Southern Canada to Northern Mexico. Cooper’s hawks are partially migratory birds however,

They have also adapted to urbanized areas and even nest in many cities including New York.

How does one attract Cooper’s Hawks?

It’s simple. Put up a bird feeder. Cooper’s Hawks prefer to eat birds, so attracting more birds to your yard is likely to attract a hawks. And, if you have a backyard chicken coop, you’re virtually guaranteed to see Cooper’s Hawks around it. 

Yes, it is very unpleasant and very sad to watch however, the predator-prey relationship between Cooper’s Hawks and songbirds is part of the circle of wildlife. If you enjoy bird-watching and you have noticed that hawks have been coming to your feeder, you may be able to encourage them to move onto another location by removing your feeder for a little while. In fact, if songbirds continue to flock to your yard/garden, the hawk/s will as well… If the feeder is temporarily gone the hawk/s will move to a different location with more food.

Birds of prey like the Hawk play an important role in the ecosystem also controlling rodents. However, one of the most dangerous threats these birds face is from rat poisoning. Poisoned rats kill the birds of prey eating them.

Please THINK AGAIN before using any rodenticide around your garden, home, backyard.

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