Size: 23" long, with a 35 1/2" wingspan.
well-known and easily distinguished bird, the Canada Goose has
a mottled gray-brown body, black legs, tail, neck, head, and
face, with a white rump, sides, and chin-strap. There are a number
of recognized subspecies that vary considerably in size. Some
of the smaller subspecies have a white ring at the base of the
found near water, Canada Geese inhabit lakes, ponds, bays, marshes,
yards, and fields. Urban populations are not shy around people
and often live in city parks and suburban ponds.
Geese graze while walking on land, and feed on submergent aquatic
vegetation by reaching under the water with their long necks.
Males defend territories from other geese and humans by hissing.
plant material and waste grain left in plowed fields make up
the majority of the Canada Goose’s diet. Insects, mollusks,
crustaceans, and occasionally small fish are also eaten.
Geese form long-term pair bonds. The female chooses the nest-site
on a slightly elevated spot near water with good visibility.
She then builds the nest, a shallow bowl with a slight depression,
made of sticks, grass, and weeds, and lined with down. She lays
and incubates 4 to 7 eggs, while the male stands guard nearby.
One or two days after the young hatch, they swim and feed themselves,
although the parents still tend them and help them find food.
The young first fly at 6 to 9 weeks, depending on the race.
each population of Canada Goose followed a rigid migratory corridor
with traditional stopovers and wintering areas, like most other
North American geese. Today, however, many urban populations
are year-round residents, and other populations have changed
of Canada Geese is complex since some of the seven subspecies
are so abundant that they are controlled as nuisances and other
subspecies are considered endangered. One subspecies of Canada
Goose (Branta canadensis moffitti) breeds in Washington. This
subspecies is common year round in developed areas, especially
grassy waterfront lawns. These geese were uncommon here before
1900, but as habitat has been altered by humans, stricter hunting
laws enforced, and natural predators eliminated, their population
has grown. In the Seattle area, many people consider Canada Geese
a nuisance. Within the past few years, control measures have
included egg shaking and oiling, relocating, and even killing
large numbers of geese. These stopgap measures, however, only
temporarily reduce the urban populations, which rebound as long
as they have abundant habitat and food.