Water Birds of Valley Ranch – Part 1 – Canadian Geese

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By now you must have heard that Valley Ranch was found to be the No.1 area for urban sophisticates in an analysis by The Dallas Morning News. All of us who have lived in Valley Ranch for some time already knew that.

I’d like to give you one of the best reasons especially for all you nature buffs. The Canals. It’s like no other place. If you have ever ran, walked or strolled the canals either early in the morning or early evening you know the canals are bustling with nature activity. It’s hard not to notice the vast number of wild birds that migrate through our canals on a seasonal basis.

Over the next few weeks I would like to introduce you to the water birds of Valley Ranch. Hopefully, I can provide some fun facts about the visitors that come to our canals.

Let’s start with one most of you will recognize. The Canadian Geese. Oh Canada Eh? you say! Canada geese are large majestic birds. This water bird, weighing up to twenty-four pounds and twenty-two to forty-eight inches in length, is probably the most populated water bird in North America. Alas, with large birds come large droppings. No runner, walker or baby stroller can avoid them. They’re like the land mines of the sidewalk. With any luck you can maneuver around them like a military obstacle course. Makes for a little extra on your work out. I digress.

Fun facts: The male and female look very similar and the only way to visually tell them apart is by their size. The male is slightly larger than his mate. You could try peeking up the kilt but good luck with that.

With a wing span of greater than six feet, they can fly very fast. Cruising speeds are about thirty miles per hours, speed during migration is about forty miles per hour, and if they are in a hurry to get somewhere, they can fly as fast as sixty miles per hour.

They fly in a very identifiable v-shaped formation, sometimes for thousands of miles at one time. During migration they fly during the night and day.

Their migration routes never vary. They use the same route year after year, the young learning the route from their parents. In the spring they will go back to the spot where they were born.

Fortunately or unfortunately depending on your point of view, that spot is not Valley Ranch.

Canada geese are grazers, chiefly vegetarian and consume many types of grains, grasses, seeds, sedges and other aquatic vegetation, legumes, succulents and their vegetative structures. Canada geese can often be seen in waste grain areas, i.e. corn, wheat, soybean fields, feeding in mornings and late afternoons. Often lawn grass is preferred by Canada geese in urban environments. I wonder if they eat weeds. I’m in need of replacing my mower.

So for you that live along the canal no McD’s fries or Subway’s even though it can contain veggies and grains. If you must feed them stick to corn it’s better for their tummies.

Till next time.

Barb the Bird Watcher

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3 Responses to Water Birds of Valley Ranch – Part 1 – Canadian Geese

  1. Pingback: Water Birds of Valley Ranch – Part 2 | Valley Ranch Association

  2. B Parker says:

    Beautiful pictures, Barb!

  3. ehrocky@verizon.net says:

    awesome writing and photos. )like doing a speech in front of a painting) except the visual aids are accompanied by writing. love your writing style, and the pics. easy to read and follow. i do not live there but can sense it. descriptions are good. love colorful anything. also in the dc area canadian geese are protected. in your area as well? sadly where we live they have destroyed so much because they were booted out of their natural habitat. we deserve it. they were here first! a few kids years ago out here were arrested for beating a goose to death. can you believe that? hope you and daniel are doing well. i think of you often, esp in april during tornado time.

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