During a November walk, I mentioned to the group that my Quebec friends refer to Canada Geese as “Les Bernaches”. George Turner was intrigued by this and sent me some research. Here is his letter:
Your mention today of the Quebec/French name of Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) prompted me to investigate further.
P. A. Taverner in his book, Birds of Canada (1943), gives the French name as, L’Outarde Canadienne.
W. Earl Godfrey in his book, The Birds of Canada revised edition (1986) uses Bernache du Canada.
F. A. Kortright in, The Ducks, Geese and Swans of North America (1967), writes in Colloquial Names In Local Use: bernache goose (French name of the barnacle goose).
Kortright writes in his entry for the Scientific Name of Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis) that “The vernacular name “Barnacle” refers to the ancient Norse belief that these geese were hatched from barnacles.
He also lists Colloquial Names for the Barnacle Goose in France as: bernache or oie bernache (barnacle goose) and oie nonnette (nun goose).
Godfrey lists the French name of Barnacle Goose as Bernache nonnette.
Too much information?
Not too much information at all. I love the name nun goose. They wear their habits well.
Perfect! This provided Just enough Information for me to understand my French Québécois girl friend. Thanks!