Lawrence Woodall argues the Canada Goose is a poor choice for the national bird.

Lawrence Woodall argues the Canada Goose is a poor choice for the national bird.

Bird choice is loony

Does Canada Have A National Bird?

Unofficially, Canada’s national bird is the common loon, but the loon has been the official provincial bird of Ontario. Thus, as of May 2010, Canada has been searching for its official national bird.

The scary part of surveys has the Canada Goose leading in some polls. Obviously, those who have voted for the Canada goose based on its honking, graceful “V” flight formations that would put the snowbirds to shame, as well as it being found in all parts of Canada, most likely haven’t had the joy of day-to-day living with them.

The Canada Goose population is exploding, especially in human populated areas where there are few predators. In the wilderness it appears the population is being contained by owls, weasels, raccoons and fox, to name a few. In suburbia dogs are their primary concern, but not much when you consider the Canada Goose is stubborn and aggressive with a flocking mentality, thus a solitary dog may quickly find itself outflanked by a flock of angry, hissing geese. Aggressive and stubborn doesn’t sound like common traits of Canadians.

Doing an informal survey driving around town recently, it was observed that there wasn’t a public green space that didn’t have a number of Canada Geese in the vicinity, a population which is growing annually as it visits the North Island. In time, the residential population will expand, which will lead to conflict both with the natural environment and with humans, especially concerning safety issues at the airports.

Little Qualicum river is just one example of the negative impacts a growing and unchecked residential geese population will have. In the last twenty years a study done by a number of biologists has found eradication of native plants, changes in the landscape and channel flows, and impacts on populations of crustaceans, insects, and worms which ultimately affect other birds and salmon dependant on them. Again, not very Canadian since we are so trying so hard to protect native species and be more environmentally sensitive.

And let’s get our ducks in a row on this issue. The bird was named Canada Goose in the 18th century by a Swede named Carl Linnaeus, who never came to Canada, who probably wanted to give Canada the credit for such a nasty bird, and to give it that foreign flavour in Sweden much the way we view Swedish hockey players in Canada (except, obviously, the Sedins who I believe really are Canadian).

And do we as Canadians really want a bird that literally defecates every five minutes while it’s eating as our national symbol? Using a flock of 1,000 birds as an example, feeding for five hours equals 60,000 green logs, and with more than five million Canada Geese in Canada, you can only imagine.

So for you folks that have many lovely birds decorating your lawn, artificial predators and noise makers will only work for a short period. A pack of dogs isn’t realistic, but the graceful Trumpeter Swan, white like the great white north, will grab the neck of the Canada Goose and hold its head under water until it drowns. The problem is keeping the Trumpeter in the vicinity to prevent residential status. Maybe giving it status as Canada’s national bird will help.

 

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Black Press Media file
Port Hardy RCMP on the hunt for porta-pottie arsonist

The porta-potties were lit on fire early in the morning on June 13

Eke Me-Xi students enjoy a field trip to Malcolm Island. (Submitted photos)
Eke Me-Xi Learning Centre takes field trip to Malcolm Island

Once at Bere Point, students made themselves at home in the day-use area

Mount Waddington Regional Fall Fair logo
Mount Waddington Regional Fall Fair cancelled again due to COVID-19 restrictions

The 2022 fall fair is still scheduled to take place in Port Hardy

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

Most Read