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goose Canada Geese

Identify It >  Birds >   Canada Geese >

Scientific name:  Branta canadensis

Size:  Up to 100cm.  Wingspan up to 170cm

Distribution:  Found throughout most of the UK except the north Scotland

Months seen:  All year round

Life Span: Can be over 20 years

Habitat:  Lakes, reservoirs, rivers and grassland near water

Food:  Grass and aquatic plants

Special features:  Canada Geese were first introduced into Britain around 300 years ago from North America.  King Charles I kept them with other waterfowl on his lake in St. James Park, London.

At the age of one, they look for a partner, who they normally remain with for life.  The nest is built of twigs and dry leaves, normally at ground level.  They line it with feathers plucked from their own bodies.  In March or early April the female lays 5 or 6 eggs which she incubates for 4 weeks, while the male defends the nest against any intruders.

In the 1950's, when their numbers increased to around 3,500, farmers became concerned about the damage the geese were doing while grazing on their crops.  The authorities decided to move large numbers of the birds to different locations away from the crops, which had the effect of creating more colonies in more locations.

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