It is time once again to take a closer look at some of the animals that call Ohio home. We are still just getting started on looking at Ohio wildlife and the amazing diversity that our state has to offer. This week, we travel to the water and take a look at the cackling goose and take a look at all the basic information we want to know about this species.

According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), the term cackling goose was “created” around 2004 at which time the American Ornithologist Union separated Canadian Geese into two separate species with smaller geese being called the cackling goose and the larger geese called Canadian geese. The ODNR Wildlife Division put in place a program to initiate resident flocks of Canadian geese rather than just having them be winter visitors to which the program has been successful, according to ODNR.

The cackling goose looks just like the Canadian goose with the major distinguishable characteristic being the smaller size of the cackling goose. Each species is identified by its gray body, black head, long neck, and distinguishable white patch on their cheek and throat. Males and females are comparable in how they appear presenting some difficulty in telling the difference between the two.

ODNR writes that the cackling goose is an exclusive breeder remaining faithful to their mate with the main breeding season taking place from March until June. Nests are constructed near a lake or pond on the ground surface. Common habitats for the cackling goose include various wetlands, lakes, shorelines, in addition to some urbanized areas. The name for the cackling goose comes from the high-pitched and squeaky cackles of this species that bears a stark contrast from the Canada goose, according to ODNR. A standard diet for the cackling goose includes various aquatic plants and insects living in the water.

Canadian geese have no problem adjusting to an area in order to make their nests with them being in much of the same areas as the cackling goose. ODNR writes that an average of 2-9 eggs are laid by the Canadian goose with an incubation of around a month and that this species is quite defensive of their nests as the mate can become hostile in order to protect their nests. It is around eight weeks after they are born at which time the Canada goose will take part in their first flight.

It is not too challenging to know when a group of Canadian geese are nearby as you are more than likely to hear the distinguishable honk of this species. As they are flying through the sky, they will fly in a v- shaped formation towards their destination whether it be day or night.

Whether it be the cackle of the cackling goose or the honk of the Canada goose, they are found well throughout Ohio and have established themselves as a famous member of Ohio’s wildlife. Have you spotted either of these species before? Stay tuned as we continue to learn about the animals that call Ohio home.

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