Q&A On the News
The short answer to your question is that these Canada geese are simply going from their bedroom (roosting area) to work (probably a lake, river, pond or golf course).
Like many other bird species, Canada geese prefer to roost where they feel safe, which is usually either in tall trees or open water somewhere.
I’ve even had reports of them roosting atop large stacks of hay bales!
I don’t know where this specific flock of Canada geese is going as they pass over your house each day, but there are several places in the Carson Valley where they roost.
And they go to any number of areas to feed during the day, including around Lake Tahoe.
As for their migration out of our area, many local birds of this species and its many subspecies have lately stopped migrating, and instead stay here year-round for a variety of reasons, including loss of wetlands where they used to go. These are the birds you hear about being relocated from time to time, most recently from the Reno area, because their droppings overwhelm park and golf course maintenance personnel, and they also pose a potential hazard around airports.
The birds that still migrate in the “south for the winter, north for the summer” pattern we expect from geese travel all over North America, particularly in the northern regions, but they also go as far south as Mexico.
Canada geese mate for life, are very attentive parents, and often band together with other same-species families to cooperate in raising their goslings. Strength in numbers, you know … which is similar to their roosting behavior. This is one avian species that has adapted well to living among humans, and their daily routine flights over your house are a testament to that.
n Linda Hiller is a Carson Valley resident who teaches bird-identification classes at Western Nevada Community College.