Brant  ( Bernache cravant )      This species is of special interest to Timiskaming birders.    All sightings should be documented and reported.

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Branta bernicla


Description:    Brant on a refuelling stopover in New Liskeard
Photo Date:   May 16, 2009


New Liskeard Waterfront


Serge Gendron

General Notes

This smaller relative of the Canada Goose is typically a saltwater goose, but during migration it passes far inland along a flyway that takes it from the northeastern Atlantic states to the James and Hudson Bay coastlines, satisfying its hunger with freshwater plants and young grass shoots.

Most Brant are seen in Timiskaming in spring, either flying low or congregating on the shores of Lake Timiskaming during migratory stopovers in mid to late May. They fly quite high when passing over land, but when over water they stay a few feet off the surface. Brant flocks fly in a loose formation, and do not adopt the typical V pattern of most other ducks and geese. They do not breed in Ontario, preferring the northern Arctic, from Alaska to Baffin Island.

Brant populations in eastern North America declined by almost 90 percent in the early 1930s, when a virulent blight killed much of their winter source of saltwater eelgrass along the Atlantic coast, a principal winter food. Fortunately, many of the birds switched to eating sea lettuce, a strategy that kept the population from disappearing altogether.

Abundance: Occasional Earliest observed:  

Typical spring arrival:

May 14

Typical fall arrival:

Oct. 20
Breeding Status: Migrant Latest observed:  

Typical spring departure:

June 9

Typical fall departure:

Nov. 7

Documented Observations



June 14, 1981. One photographed on Virginiatown beach by Percy Richter.

June 5, 1989. One photographed on Virginiatown beach by Percy Richter.

November 4, 1997. A flock of about 200 observed flying over Hilliardton Marsh by Bruce Murphy

May 31, 2008. A small flock observed and photographed by Serge Gendron

May 14, 2009. Six Brant observed and photographed at the New Liskeard waterfront by Michael Werner

May 15, 2009. A flock of about 80 Brant flew close by the New Liskeard waterfront.

May 16, 2009. Four Brant observed and photographed by Serge Gendron