Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)
Canada Goose, Dunsapie Loch, Edinburgh, Scotland, November 2000 - click for larger image Scotland

As the name suggests, Canada Geese come from North America where they breed in Canada and northern USA and winter in southern USA. There are eleven subspecies.

The Canada Goose was introduced to Britain about 250 years ago and the feral population now exceeds 50,000. They are now found in smaller numbers elsewhere in Europe and are still being introduced into Scandinavia by hunters.

Canada Goose, Caerlaverock, Scotland, February 2001 - click for larger image The subspecies normally found in Europe is the nominate B. c. canadensis although there is some hint of B. c. maxima in some birds. B. c. maxima is the largest subspecies with a slightly darker lower neck and a small white patch on the forehead. Other subspecies occasionally come to Europe as vagrants.

Although they are normally migratory, feral populations tend to be sedentary. However, since the 1950s an increasing number of British birds have migrated to the Beauly Firth to moult. This occurs in June and July

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