canada geese...first snow

The Canada Goose is an amazing bird in many ways. It is a bird of high moral standards. They have a support system with siblings and respect parents.  A Canada goose mates for life with only one goose, if there is no mate, there is no sex. It may be not the most abundant bird species here in the Bucks County but definitely the most commonly-seen one as they are non-migratory birds - huge flocks of them cross the sky

or feed in fields

in any season.

They look as joyous and enthusiastic in the field covered with the first snow as in a warm summer day

Looking at them I frequently wondered what kind of the evolutionary process instigated the move from migratory behavior of a regular goose to the non-migratory one. As I found out to my surprise, this move had nothing to do with an evolution - the switch from migratory to non-migratory behavior was totally man-made and it happened in the lifespan of one generation: 'By the early 1960’s, the excessive hunting brought the population of Canada geese to near extinction. To counter this near extinction, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and many State wildlife agencies began a program of re-population of wild Canada geese. They did this by taking the eggs from the nests of the surviving resident Canada geese and artificially incubated these eggs. As a consequence, these geese were not taught the migration patterns and their descendants do not have the biological need to migrate.'

These geese have benefited from the agricultural practices that leave waste grain behind for winter foraging, thereby giving us great winter photo opportunities.