What did they call Canadian Geese before Confederation?
January 11, 2004 10:16 PM   Subscribe

What did they call Canadian Geese before Confederation?
posted by antifreez_ to Pets & Animals (13 answers total)
"Canadian Geese" is actually wrong. They're called "Canada Geese" after someone whose last name is "Canada." They're not named for Canadian origin, so the actual confederation of that state is perhaps skew.
posted by scarabic at 10:30 PM on January 11, 2004

I'm basing that on an NPR story I head a while back, and currently looking for supporting material...
posted by scarabic at 10:31 PM on January 11, 2004

heh... I'm getting both "canadian geese" and "canada geese" from the NPR search engine (copy-check, people!) so I guess consider my input apocryphal until further notice.
posted by scarabic at 10:41 PM on January 11, 2004

Best answer: Well, Canada vs. Canadian goose seems to be a last refuge of pedants, for one thing. But y'know, Canada was a name of the place long before Confederation. It's generally agreed that the name was first given to what is now called the St. Lawrence; it is so named in the 1603 charter given by France to Pierre du Gast, a Huguenot who accomplished the earliest permanent settlements, and is cited as early as 1535 in more specific sense. I'd wager that the first scientific description of the beast comes slightly after that. Audubon called it the Canada goose ca. 1836, for instance; Lewis and Clark didn't see fit to identify them, plentiful as they were, beyond the name "geese".

Other names by which it has been known include Bay goose, big gray goose, black-headed goose, calling goose, Canada brant, common wild goose, cravat goose, honker, long-necked goose, reef goose, wild goose; it is the single most widely-distributed waterfowl.
posted by dhartung at 11:24 PM on January 11, 2004

i like to call it the vicious kanatan bird mutant who gives chase and slams your ankles with it's beak-weapon across harbourfront park to get your ice cream cone, but that's just me.
posted by t r a c y at 12:55 AM on January 12, 2004

If you grew up with Hinterland Who's Who, you'd know all about the Canada Goose from this video.

I was lucky enough to shoot one of these guys this season. They taste great.
posted by MiG at 1:56 AM on January 12, 2004

Other names it has been called, according to the Dictionary of American Regional English: bustard, Canada black goose, Canada honker, Canada trumpeter, Canadian blue goose, Canadian snow goose, gray goose, and perhaps cackling goose, Hutchin's goose, and white-cheeked goose, the last three of which usually refer to subspecies and may have additional common names. The latin name is Branta canadensis.
posted by Mo Nickels at 5:50 AM on January 12, 2004

The "named after a guy named Canada" thing is a myth. The name is geographically derived. They're called Canada geese, and not Canadian geese (for pedants only) because they are a species of wildlife and thus cannot have nationality.

Although this doesn't seem to have stopped the American eagle. Maybe they demanded honorary citizenship in return for the use of their image on U.S. marketing collateral.
posted by luser at 6:02 AM on January 12, 2004

What did they call Canadian Geese before Confederation?

Geese. Although people walking across fields covered in goose-poo called them all kinds of things. But if my dog, who has some disgusting residual racial-memory foraging instincts, were to refer to that same goose-poo, she would call geese "The providers of one of my favorite snacks."
posted by Shane at 6:36 AM on January 12, 2004

Great comment, dhartung; I've grabbed your first link for my blog.
posted by languagehat at 8:21 AM on January 12, 2004

Eat a C.Goose? Ick. That's like eating a rat or seagull.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:57 AM on January 12, 2004

Well, they're vegetarians, unlike rats and seagulls. So they taste great. And unlike chickens or mad cows, they are drug-free and all natural. Certainly better than your average turkey or whatever.
posted by MiG at 11:29 AM on January 12, 2004

Also, they process large amounts of food into poo with a very fast digestion process to keep the weight down for flight.
The result is a great deal of lightly digested slippery goose poo.

To a dog, it's probably quite akin to eating grass (with some of the harsh indigestables already removed)

they are drug-free and all natural.

Well, except for the lead.
posted by milovoo at 11:52 AM on January 14, 2004

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