Canada Goose

Branta canadensis

Canada Geese are large water birds, although they are not always found near water. They are very common in our area and can be seen year-round.

A Canada Goose can grow up to 45 inches long. It has a brownish body with a black head and a long black neck. It has white cheek patches.

Canada Geese live in marshes, lakes, rivers, and ponds. They can be seen feeding in fields, parks, and lawns.

Wyman Meinzer, USFWS

Victor Fazio, III

Canada Geese nest in the Spring. They build a nest out of grass, weeds, twigs, pine needles, and moss on the ground, hidden among tall grasses, cattails, or weeds. Females lay four to eight large white eggs. Females also sit on the eggs, up to a month, while the male guards his territory.

Sometimes geese build nests on top of a muskrat house or beaver dam, or they borrow an old nest of an osprey, eagle, or heron.

Canada Geese try to hide themselves while they nest, because many animals will eat the eggs, including gulls, crows, skunks, and dogs. When it senses danger, a goose will lay flat on the ground with its neck stretched out.

Mark Moran

Canada Geese are herbivores, meaning they eat plants. Their foods include: grasses, cattails, sedges, rushes, pondweeds, Arrowhead, clovers, water lilies, and duckweed. They also eat crops, such as alfalfa and corn.

In the Summer, Canada Geese molt their feathers. This means they are unable to fly while they shed old feathers and grow new ones. During this period, they gather in large groups. This is when you often see them on soccer fields and golf courses.

Ecology Group

Fred Siskind, Huntley Meadows Park

Copyright, Richard Ditch, http://home.earthlink.net/~richditch/

Y. Kowada

Once geese have their new feathers and are ready to fly again, many of them will form flocks and fly South. In our area, though, some geese will stay through the Winter. When geese migrate they form a "V" pattern in the sky.

Since Canada Geese are such large birds, they have few predators as adults. They are also very agressive when guarding their territory. Raccoons, Red Foxes, Common Snapping Turtles, and Virginia Opossums are animals big enough to prey on geese, although they will most likely take young ones.

Additional Media

Description
Type
Credit
Canada Goose Call
Sound
Unknown
Canada Geese
Video
Unknown
Canada Geese Fighting
Video
Phil Heine
Canada Goose Coloring Page
Link to Printable Page
EnchantedLearning.com

Relationships in Nature:

FOOD
PREDATORS
SHELTER
OTHER

Long-leaf Pondweed

Raccoon

Common Cattail

Muskrat SP

Tussock Sedge

Red Fox

Tussock Sedge

Beaver SP

Red Clover

Virginia Opossum

Common Reed

Osprey SP

Common Cattail

Common Snapping Turtle

Pickerelweed

Bald Eagle SP

Common Duckweed

Bald Eagle

Switchgrass

Great Blue Heron SP

Yellow Pond Lily

Black Willow

Copepod D

Switchgrass

American Hornbeam

Ring-billed Gull Mu

Smooth Crabgrass

Lizard's Tail

Pickerelweed

Marsh Bulrush

Marsh Bulrush

Buttonbush

Buttonbush

Arrow Arum

Wild Rice

Wild Rice

Relationship to Humans:

Canada Geese are very popular with hunters, and are often eaten. Many people enjoy feeding them at ponds where they are somewhat tame. Canada Geese can be annoying when they feed on lawns, playing fields, and golf courses, especially when they poop in large amounts. When goose poop builds up in these places, it washes into streams and ponds all at once after heavy rains and pollutes the water. You should not feed wild geese or ducks, even when they seem tame. Bread and other foods fed to geese have things in them which are bad for them. It also teaches them to depend on humans for food, when they need to be able to find their own.

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM
Animal
PHYLUM
Chordate
CLASS
Bird
ORDER
Anseriformes
FAMILY
Anatidae
GENUS
Branta
SPECIES
Branta canadensis

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