Canada Goose - Branta canadensis
Can you believe that this incredible nuisance of a bird was once on the verge of extinction - and not in the distant past? Hunting and slaughter by farmers in the late 1800s led to the critical endangerment of the entire Branta canadensis species, until the International Migratory Birds Treaty was passed in 1918.
While the species as a whole began a slow recovery process at that point, several of the subspecies were still on a rapid decline due to habitat loss, and by 1962, both the Aleutian and Giant Canada Goose were believed to be functionally extinct. However, the discovery of a wintering flock of Giant Canada Geese in Rochester, MN, that year, and the discovery of two small Aleutian Canada Geese flocks the next year, kicked off a conservation movement to restore the habitat and flyways for the entire species.
Well, the movement worked, obviously. In less than 40 years, all seven subspecies have been removed from the endangered species list, and the species as a whole is now considered a nuisance bird in many areas.
As they prefer open spaces with water, they’re often present in the same area as humans: around beaches, airports, and golf courses; their toxic droppings (not to mention their big ol’ engine-clogging bodies) have caused many problems over the past decade or so. In fact, they were the cause of the birdstrike that resulted in the “Miracle on the Hudson” a few years back. So far, culling and extermination efforts have only had limited effects on the overall population.
Voegel, aus Asien, Africa, America, und Neuholland in Abbildungen nach der Natur mit Beschreibungen. Carl Wilhelm Hahn, 1818.