Bird of the Week

Photo courtesy Charles Martinez

This week’s Bird of the Week, compliments of the Weminuche Audubon Society and Audubon Rockies, is the Canada goose.
This is one of the most commonly seen birds in Pagosa Springs. Most of us have seen their V-shaped flight formations, in which experienced individuals take turns leading the flock.
Canada geese like living near water and grain fields. Grassy areas are particularly favored because these birds can digest grass, and large open spaces, such as parks and golf courses, provide unobstructed views of approaching predators.
In spring, pairs break out of their winter flocks and begin to defend their chosen territories. Geese mate for life and most pairs do not breed until their fourth year. Females select the site and build the nest. The goslings develop rapidly, spending much of their time with their parents, mostly sleeping and eating.
In winter, geese can migrate southward or choose to remain in their summer habitat, even when temperatures are quite cold, if water and food are plentiful.
An Internet search will fill in the problematic details of the common name of this bird — Canada goose or Canadian goose. If everyone simply uses the scientific name, Branta canadensis, the problem is solved.
For information on local bird-watching events, visit and