The Canada goose is a waterfowl that lives in many parts of North America. It is famous for its life-long mating even if a widowed goose usually chooses another mate. This bird is large since it measures twenty to fifty inches long and has a wingspan of about fifty to sixty inches. The Canada goose has a black head, a long black neck, a crown and bill. It has a contrasting white throat and cheek area. Its undertail coverts are white and its back flank and upper wings are dark brown with a lighter brown breast and belly, which is nearly white at times. It has black legs that have webbed feet and a short black tail.
Canada geese that live in different areas can be different in size, have different colors or different vocalizations from those in other areas. The smallest Canada goose species, which is referred to as the cackling goose because of its high pitched vocalizations is only a quarter the size of the largest Canada geese known as honkers.
A newly hatched Canada goose looks a lot like a duckling since it has gray and yellow feathers and a dark bill. However, within a week the young goose grows to become a fuzzy gray bird that looks rather awkward. Flight feathers then grow after about nine to ten weeks and the gosling looks like a slightly smaller version of the adults. The Canada goose has webbed feet and this is apparent when you look at its tracks.
Like most waterfowl, this goose feeds on aquatic vegetation, roots, grass and young sprouts. It also eats grains such as corn from agricultural areas. This species lives around rivers, ponds and lake shores. It is a common sight in city parks and some North American cites have problems with overpopulation of Canada geese. Authorities in such cities attempt to ensure that people do not feed them.
When it comes to nesting, the Canada goose builds its nest with plant material and grass and lines it with feathers. It builds its nest on the ground on shorelines and islands. This goose species is however very adaptable in urban settings wherever it finds safe to live. The female goose lays eggs in the nests as long as they are free from snow and there is open water for mating. Typically, it lays a clutch of five to seven white eggs but the number of eggs can range anywhere from two to twelve. The male goose guards the nesting area. The process of laying an egg is not easy and it takes a little more than a day to do so.
Typically, it takes about a month for the eggs of Canada goose to incubate. However, incubation is faster in the most northern areas because the summers are shorter. When ready to hatch the goslings peck at egg shells with the tooth located at the end of their bill. The process of freeing themselves from the egg takes a day or two. Newly hatched goslings are able to swim almost immediately after hatching and they are accompanied by their parents during their swims.
Humans are the main enemy of the Canada goose as they attempt to control its population. Some areas have started hunting and egg collection efforts meant to ensure that the population of Canada geese reduces. The natural enemies of this bird include gulls, the Arctic fox, Peregrine Falcons, Bald Eagles, Prairie Falcons and Snowy Owls.
The Canada goose is a highly social bird that travels in medium to large flocks. It also easily adapts to human habitations like man-made waterways and lakes. When living close to humans, the Canada goose can become docile.
Go back to the How to Get Rid of Canada Geese
home page, or the Canada Goose Trapping