Birds of Seabrook Island

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  Canada Goose
 
 

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  Order Anseriformes - Waterfowl
   Family Anatidae - Ducks, Geese, and Swans
      Subfamily Anserinae - Geese and Swans
  Waterfowl vary in size - from teal to swans. They all have webbed feet and dense, waterproof plumage. Most nest on the ground and the nest is lined with down plucked by the female from her breast. Except for two small groups not found in North America, all belong to one (or two) families.
Ducks, Geese, and Swans are waterfowl with their bill finely serrated or grooved on the edge. Their tongue is fleshy. Their front toes are webbed. Males have a functional penis. They are strong fliers and many migrate long distances. 
Geese and Swans are larger waterfowl. In geese, the neck is shorter than the body and in swans, the neck is long.    
     
MORE (Order)      MORE (Family)
     
  Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
Cackling Goose, Branta hutchinsii
 
         Cornell     USGS     Wiki     ToL     EoL
Cornell     Wiki     ToL     EoL

        WINTER - Uncommon / Occasional - rare (but coastal breeding populations increasing)
            LAKES, FIELDS, HABITATS NEAR WATER - increasing in urban areas
MORE PICTURES
 
   In 2004, The 45th supplement to the AOU Checklist split the Canada Goose into two species - the Canada Goose, Branta canadensis, and the Cackling Goose, Branta hutchinsii.
    The Canada Goose includes the large-bodied, interior and southern breeding populations.
  The Cackling Goose includes small-bodied, tundra-breeding populations. For a discussion of the identification of these species, click for a link to an explanation by David. A. Sibley. A list of the populations of each of these species follows. Sibley's guide illustrates some of these forms.

Canada Goose - large-bodied group, nesting inland in in more southern areas
   B. c. canadensis - Atlantic Canada Goose ("Common" in Sibley)
   B. c. interior - Hudson Bay Canada Goose (not pictured)
   B. c. maxima - Giant Canada Goose (not pictured)
   B. c. moffitti - Moffitt's or Great Basin Canada Goose (not pictured)
   B. c. parvipes - Lesser Canada Goose ("Lesser" in Sibley)
   B. c. occidentalis - Dusky Canada Goose ("Dusky" in Sibley)
   B. c. fulva - Vancouver Canada Goose (not pictured)
Cackling Goose - small-bodied group, breeding mainly in tundra
   B. h. hutchinsii - Richardson's (or Hutchin's) Cackling Goose ("Richardson's"
       in Sibley)
   B. h. taverneri - Taverner's (Alaska) Cackling Goose (not pictured)
   B. h. minima - Cackling Cackling Goose ("Cackling" in Sibley)
   B. h. leucoparei - Aleutian Cackling Goose ("Aleutian" in Sibley)

   These geese have dark, barred plumage with white at the base of the tail and white under-tail coverts and rump. The breast is paler than the body. The head and neck are black and there is a white stocking on the throat and face. Canada Geese are large (with a wing spread up to 60" and body mass of 4.5 kg). Cackling Geese are small (wing spread of 43" in the smallest race with a body mass of 1.6 kg). They tend to have very short bills in comparison.


Canada Goose
Canada Goose with young, Bear Island WMA
Canada Goose
Foraging goose, Oak Openings, OH
 
       
  RANGE: Canada Geese breed broadly across Canada and into northern areas of the United States and migrate south in winter. Domestic Canada Geese have given rise to non-migratory populations that also breed broadly across the United States taking advantage of our lawns, golf courses, agricultural fields, and many lakes and ponds - primarily in suburban areas.
   Cackling Geese breed in the far north - on tundra of the Arctic islands, the western areas of Hudson's Bay and coastal Alaska. They winter to the Gulf Coast of Texas - Mexico, central Mexico, and the central valley of California.
  BREEDING: Monogamous. One brood. Their nest is a slight depression with a bowl of sticks, grass, moss, and weeds, and a down lining. The female selects the site and builds the nest. She lays 4-7 (2-11) eggs. Incubation takes 25-28 (30) days. The female incubates, the male stands guard. Young are led from the nest to water 1-2 days after hatching. They are precocial and feed themselves. Cackling Geese may fly in 6-7 weeks, Canada Geese in 8-9 weeks.
   These geese maintain a long-term pair bond (some mate for life).
  DIET: Food is mostly plant material - shoots, stems, roots, and seeds of grass and sedges, bulbs, grain, berries; also insects, crustaceans, mollusks. Mostly grain and foliage in winter.
  VOICE: Loud, resonant, musical "honk."
  NOTES:
   Checklists -
      Kiawah - rare year-round.. Edisto - migrant.
      Coastal - fairly common winter visitor. Hilton Head - fairly common winter visitor. Cape Romain - rare/absent/occasional/occasional.
         Huntington Beach - rare, year-round.
      Caw Caw - uncommon/absent/uncommon/uncommon. ACE - occasional/absent/occasional/occasional.
   CBC: ACE 26, 25, 81, 0, 40, 247, 0, 76; Charleston 18, 8, 83, 31, 79, 79, 16, 49;
            St. Helena/Fripp x, x, x, x, x, x, 3, 16; Hilton Head 11, 2, 0, 4, 0, 0, 0, 0; Sun City/Okatie 0, 0, 0, 8, 0, 0, 0, 12;
            McClellanville 0, 6, 12, 15, nc, nc, 21, 0; Winyah Bay x, x, 60, 0, 1, 4, 8, 5;
               Litchfield/Pawleys 52, 97, 54, 21, 11, 95, 2, 44.
      [winter counts do not distinguish between Canada and Cackling Geese]
   SCBBA: Confirmed/possible breeding Horry, Berkeley, Colleton, and Beaufort Counties. Many more records north of the Fall Line.
   P&G: Winter visitor, fairly common throughout the state. Introduced non-migratory birds breed. Maximum - 9,900 Santee NWR, January 1974.
   Avendex: 2 records for Canada Goose. 2 records for Cackling Goose.
   Potter: Regular winter residents south to Cape Lookout in North Carolina.
  ●   Occasional - rare? I've not seen either species on Seabrook. However, a pair of Canada Geese was seen on the island in the spring of 2008. They are found in various wildlife management areas and on impoundments in our area but not in large numbers. Not likely to be seen on Seabrook? We can hope they don't find our golf courses or establish a local breeding population. Finding the more northern Cackling Geese wintering on Seabrook would be very unlikely.
       
    Banner - Canada Goose, Oak Openings, OH
       
       
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