Emperor Geese (Anser Canagica) are early Russian Aleutian Islands settlers. They have an elegant blue-gray or ashy coloration and a profuse black and white barring that creates a striking scaled effect. Vaguely resembling Blue Geese, they project a cleaner, more delicate appearance. Iron deposits in the water commonly stain their brilliant snow-white heads and hindnecks rusty or orange-yellow. Distinctive strident, high-pitched calls typify these chunky geese. Loafing groups on sandbars or mud flats emit lower, more conversational notes that rise in pitch as new arrivals are welcomed. Flying rather slowly on swallow, rapid wingbeats, they normally fly over the water in uneven lateral lines. Emperor Geese (Anser Canagica) are strictly maritime birds that forage on reefs, sandy beaches and salt and brackish lagoon mud flats, where feeding rhythms are governed by tidal cycle. They favor seaweed and eelgrass but flocks also capitalize on kelp and other marine vegetation cast ashore following severe storms. Pairs nest in scattered colonies adjacent to lakes, ponds, lagoons and flat marshy islands bordering the sea. Nest density can be as high as 90 nests per square mile in prime terrain. Pairs defend territories of about 14 square yards around nests, that may be located in bleached, wave-worn driftwood just above the high-water mark. Possibly due to nests only sparsely lined with down, goslings seemingly suffer greater losses from wet and cold than other northern geese. Pairs arrive on the breeding grounds between mid May and the first of June, and though primed to lay almost immediately, snow or melt water may delay laying for a week or more. Emperor Goose (Anser Canagica) nests are generally exposed or have very little cover. Ganders remain nearby on guard while their mates incubate. Families may travel up to 12 miles to feeding grounds, that are usually located along the coast. Highly social with their own kind, the geese normally feed in family parties and small flocks in kelp beds and on estuarine mud flats, but molting and wintering concentrations are substantially larger.