If they weren’t so numerous, we would appreciate them more than we do. Canada geese are certainly the most attentive parents on the pond. Unlike ducks that leave all of the parental responsibilities on hens, both parents stay with goslings to teach them to fly and then lead them to their wintering grounds before they bid adieu. Throughout their time with their offspring, they are fierce protectors when other waterfowl come around. People tell me they have been attacked by geese but I doubt they are this species. I’ve never seen a person attacked in all of my hours at the pond, but geese hiss often to show their displeasure if you get too close. It’s all bluff.
Sculpturally, Canada geese are magnificent achievements in evolution. Even though they are large, heavy birds (up to 18 pounds), they are able to fly long distances due to their conformation and wingspans of up to six feet.
I’m not convinced geese are very intelligent beyond their successful set of instinctual behaviors. They all seem to have the same personality so I give them very little attention. Ducks are more interesting. It’s my opinion ducks are smarter, can problem solve, and certainly have individual personalities from shy to fearless.
Ducks jabber to each other more than geese do. It seems, if their brains are engaged in any activity, they mutter to each other, but I’m not convinced it transmits meaningful information beyond “Danger,” “Heads up!,” “Where are you?,” “I am agitated” or “Here I am.” Geese, on the other hand, seem to have a broader range of vocalizations from loud calls to soft “purring” to their immediate family members. Can they transmit specific information in their honks? I’m not convinced.
Below is a close up of a Canada goose’s taupe flank with beads of water after it hopped out of the pond. If you would like it as a desktop pattern (1920×1200 – 840k), you are welcome to grab it here or click the image to see a more reasonably sized version that’s 1300 pixels wide.