white-fronted-goose while very rare on the East Coast and the eastern half of the continent, the white-fronted-goose are comparatively abundant throughout the West. The breeding range is in the polar regions all the way around, so they are also found in Europe and Asia. In our land they are known as the "laughing geese," due to their peculiar laugh-cry sound, as it is heard while they are in flight as well as on the ground or water. In Europe they winter around the Mediterranean and, in our hemisphere, in and around the Gulf and the southern states.
Like the Canada geese, the white-fronted-goose seems to time their arrival in the north to just when the ice is out and the farmer's fields are beginning to grow tender shoots of grain and corn. They also feed on heath berries. Their mating season is generally over by the end of May and a nest filled with as many as five to seven eggs will be laid. The male does not desert the female in the family processes, but stands by at all times to do his duty. These geese are difficult to conserve, because the northern people go after them for food, especially when they are molting and cannot fly.
Some unseen and unknown force sets the white-fronted-geese off for the-southward migration long before many of the other waterfowl. Great flights of them will be coming down in California well in advance of the rest. Their flight is a modified V and sometimes great flocks of them will assemble behind the flying wedge that is breaking the wind force. They fly quite high to avoid the ground currents and also the hunters.
It is not definitely known whether they, like the Canada geese, mate for life, though there seems to be much evidence in the favor of the belief, for it seems to be a common characteristic of geese.
They are an easy bird to identify on the ground or in flight. Their head and entire neck is brownish grey with a white band around the front of the face. Their body is greyish brown. The belly and flanks are white speckled with irregular dark brown splotches.
As is the case with all migratory waterfowl, they are protected by federal regulations as to hunting. The states adapt these dates to their situation along with bag limits. They are quite easy to bring down to a set of decoys. When the day comes and you have your camera ready, a flight of these birds zooming in on powerful wings against a crisp blue sky backed by the haze of far-off mountains will make a picture you will treasure.
There are several other geese that are somewhat similar in size, coloring and habits such as the emperor, found mostly in Alaska, the tule goose, found mainly in California, the lesser snow goose, of the Great Lakes region and the greater snow goose found along the Middle Atlantic states. The whitefront was selected for our study because of its extreme popularity and the fact that it is representative of the group.
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