As the weather starts to change and winter approaches, our summer friends begin their migrations south, the monarchs, the hummingbirds, the painted buntings and others. Our winter friends start to show up and stake out their territory. The Canadian Goose is one such bird. Spending summers and breeding season in Canada, Minnesota and other northern states, these birds head for warmer climes as soon as the frost is on the pumpkin.
Notice the distinctive black head and white chin markings. They can have wing spans of up to 6 feet and can weigh over 10 pounds. These birds were much hunted in the 19th and 20th century. Plus, much of their habitat and wetlands were lost as populations expanded during the 20th century into their native range. The Canadian goose was declared to be at risk. Fortunately, with the help of private, state and federal resources, habitats have been preserved and even restored, breeding programs established, and hunting seasons and guidelines put in place.
If you’re out at the nature center this winter, you’ll likely see a pair that has come to call our lake home… they are truly winter Texans!