An unprecedented number of Canada geese seem to have taken over the Broad Brook Pond area this year. “They’re common to abundant here in CT year-round,“ says Tom Anderson, director of communications for the Connecticut Audubon Society who explained that although Canada geese do migrate north and south each year, more and more are staying put in urban and suburban areas year-round, settling especially around high grasses by water edges. In flight, they fill the sky with long V-formations. Their honking can be heard from miles and miles.
According to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the year-round resident geese that breed in the state are distinct from migratory populations that nest in the northern Canadian provinces. Most migrant geese that occur in Connecticut breed in Labrador, Newfoundland, and northern Quebec, arriving in Connecticut in early October. Migration continues through November with another peak number of migrants arriving in mid-December. Most migrant geese leave the state by mid-January to continue further south. However, in years with mild winters (like the one the state is experiencing this year) substantial numbers of migrant geese have remained in Connecticut the entire winter.
E.bird.org, a website that allows birdwatchers worldwide to log in the number of species they spot at designated areas on any one day, reports that 2234 Canadian geese were sighted by the pond in Broad Brook on February 20. That number isn’t even half of the 5000 recorded seen on February 8!
The CDEE reports Canada goose numbers have increased substantially over the last 50 years, due to the ability of the geese to adapt to man’s landscaping practices. The multitude of new ponds, lakeside lawns, golf courses, and athletic fields created since the 1950s have resulted in a large expansion of the goose population. These areas provide the right combination of water, cover, and grazing sites for geese.
Ebird.org attributes 17 bird species spotted at the pond through February 20. The rarest of these include one bald eagle, one cackling goose, one belted kingfisher, and one great blue heron.
Photo one: Broad Brook Pond Park is at located at 17 Depot Street.
Photo two: According to ebird.org, thousands of birds have been sighted on the pond this year.
Photo three: The Canada goose is easily recognized by its black head, bill, and neck that contrast strikingly with a pale gray breast.
Photo four: An enormous gaggle of Canada geese are oblivious to the warning sign at Broad Brook Pond. The white bird amongst them appears to be a lone gull.