Canada geese a usual sight in Valley

Usually the flocks of Canada geese can be heard as they fly overhead on their way to any of their favorite spots here in the Valley. But last week a pair became separated from the main group and the male landed on our rooftop while his mate landed on our neighbor's roof.

As in most species, the male is larger than the female and each has a different honk. You can find them as far north as the Arctic tundra with the species becoming smaller as you get further north into the colder climates. It doesn't get cold enough here in the Carson Valley for them to migrate which is why we see them all year round.

We should be seeing them out with their goslings in the next few weeks. They usually nest close to a body of water so they can get their young into the water within a day of hatching. Keep an eye out for their parade - the goslings will walk in a line with one parent at the front and the other in the rear. Family is very important in the Canada goose. As the flock comes in for a landing, you can see the family groups separate from the "V" formation just before landing. Parents fly with their yearlings and even will group several clutches (the hatchlings of one set of parents) together (these are called crèches) so that all the parents can look after the goslings together.

In looking at the numbers just in our area, it is hard to believe that almost 50 years ago the Canada goose was an uncommon bird. At that time they had been over hunted and there was a lot of wetland destruction. They have flourished with game management practices as well as adapting to city life with the many golf courses and parks found in communities throughout the country. They are also found in Europe, Siberia, China and Japan.

The couple that landed on our rooftop and our neighbor's walked the ridgelines "talking" to each other for about a half hour before making a circle overhead and then flying over toward the Carson River. Perhaps they just needed a rest before that last leg of the trip or perhaps they were sightseeing and lost their way for a minute. Then again, maybe they are new to the Carson Valley and just stopped to survey the Valley from a good vantage point. Whatever the reason, it was certainly a great way to start the day.

Have a ramblin' good week.

n To reach Gail Davis, e-mail or call 265-1947


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