Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)


Family:                    Anatidae

Status:                     No special status

Size:                        2 to 3.5 ft (.6 m to 1.06 m) long; wingspread 4 to 6 ft (1.2 to 1.8 m)

Diet:                        Omnivore

Characteristics:        Sociable, monogamous

Area:                       North America, Europe, New Zealand

Offspring:                5 to 6 off-white eggs, once per year

Predators:               Coyote, fox, skunk, raccoon



·        Canada geese can go up to 30 days without food.

·        The honking of Canada geese as they fly overhead is very distinctive.

·        The most familiar and common goose in Canada is the Canada Goose.



The Canada Goose mates for life and some geese are so attached that after losing their mate, will not mate again. People are drawn to this bird because of its beauty, and many feed the bird in parks. Unfortunately, this has led to much controversy because of waste left behind by the geese. There has also been an increase in population, leading to suggestions that the geese be killed. This in itself is a problem, however, because these geese are very loving and loyal and become quite distraught when they lose a member of their family. Animal lovers in the UK, the US and in Canada are working to protect this beautiful, friendly bird. Males and females have the same colouring, but the females are slightly smaller. They eat grass, grain and water vegetation, as well as fish or insects, on occasion. They usually migrate south with the onset of winter, but recently, many have begun to stay in northern climates during the winter as well, because they've become used to being fed by people. 



Canada geese will return to the same nesting place year after year. They usually migrate south flying in their famous V formations, signifying the changing of the season, although sometimes during mild winters they’ve been known to stay put. They are native to North America, but have been introduced to various areas in Europe, where their numbers are increasing rapidly. They live by lakes, rivers, marshes and bays, whether in the wild or in parks. Canada geese don’t seem to mind the presence of humans and can become quite tame, even approaching to get food.



The female builds the nest of grass, twigs and leaves and sits on the eggs while the male stands guard, protectively watching over her until the eggs hatch. The preferred site for the nest is a small island or a beaver lodge, or any small piece of land separated from mainland by a moat-like piece of water. The eggs are hidden within the nest, under grass and pieces of down that the female has pulled from her chest to keep the eggs warm and to hide them while she takes one or two brief breaks per day. The eggs hatch from the 26th to the 27th day of incubation, and the goslings will be able to leave the nest when they’re approximately 28 days old. Both parents are equally responsible for taking care of their young and will aggressively defend their goslings and their mates. Goslings are nearly full grown within 10 weeks of hatching. Once the young are able to fly, the family may move to another site. Flocks are made up of family members, and the young often stay with their parents for years, until they find mates of their own. These remarkable birds can live from 20 to 40 years.