- Bill: Black elongated triangle
- Size: 22-45 inches long with 75-inch wingspan, thick oval body and long neck
- Colors: Brown, gray, white and black
- Markings: Black head and neck with a thick white chin strap stretching from cheek to cheek, pale or white breast and sides with buff or brown wings and back, lighter on underside. Male and female birds look alike.
Insects, seeds, aquatic plants, grass, cracked corn, berries, food scraps
Habitat and Migration:
Canada geese are the most common and widespread goose species in North America, with strong populations throughout the United States and Canada in wetlands, along waterways and in rural areas where marshes and lakes are present. These birds are year-round residents from Pennsylvania and New York to North Carolina and west to Nevada and Washington. Southern populations and extreme northern populations are migratory, traveling in a recognizable V-formation seasonally.
These geese have a loud “honk-honk” call that can seem raucous when many birds call at once. Smaller variations found in northern populations also have a distinctive cackling call. Hissing is a common threat response.
Canada geese are very social birds that travel in medium to large flocks and are easily adaptable to human habitation such as man-made lakes and waterways. These large birds can also be aggressive to intruders, whether birds or humans, and may hiss or charge if they feel threatened.
Geese that live in close contact with humans may become docile and can beg for handouts, particularly near lakeside picnic areas, and they may be willing to take scraps from the hand.
These geese mate for life in a strong, monogamous partnership. Pairs will produce one brood per year of 5-10 eggs that must be incubated for 22-30 days before hatching. Both parents will incubate the eggs and care for the young. Fledglings leave the nest in 1-2 days and are taught how to find food by both parents. After 40-55 days young birds reach their adult size, but they will remain together as a family group until the next breeding season.
Attracting Canada Geese:
Canada geese are likely to appear in any location with sufficient wetlands or waterways, and during migrating periods they are known to rest in agricultural fields or along drainage ditches. They are not common in backyards without large water features. If waterways are nearby, birders can offer cracked corn and bread scraps on the ground for visiting geese.
- Brant (Branta bernicla)
- Greater White-Fronted Goose (Anser albifrons)
- Cackling Goose (Branta hutchinsii)