Canada Goose

Branta canadensis

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The Canada Goose is a large, common waterbird. The body is plump with a long, elegantly curved neck. Its distinctive coloring consists of a black head and neck with a white “chinstrap” band which runs from beneath the chin to the top of the head. The body is a mottled gray-brown with darker webbed feet and a stubby dark tail. Goslings (young geese) are a uniform yellow with a fuzzy appearance. Although the goose has few natural predators, they are occasionally hunted by Coyotes, Gray Wolves, Golden Eagles and Bald Eagles. Their eggs are often eaten by foxes, raccoons, ravens and crows. They nest on the ground, often in broken vegetation, on ledges and occasionally on artificial platforms such as rafts or docks.

There are numerous varieties of this goose, although some were recently reclassified as a different species called a Cackling Goose.

Range and Habitat

The goose can be found in arctic and temperate areas of North America and parts of Europe. It breeds in Canada and the northern half of the United States. They prefer watery habitats and fields, feeding on grasses, sedges, skunk cabbage and eelgrass.

The geese are now commonly found in parks and other urban areas, frequently attracted by the artificial wetlands and grassy lawns where they can forage for food. They are often considered a nuisance animal due to their loud “honking” noise, unhygienic living conditions and aggressive behavior toward both domesticated animals and people.

Conservation Status

Due to over-hunting and habitat destruction led to a severe decline in the goose’s numbers during the late-nineteenth century and early-twentieth century. The Giant Canada Goose subspecies was declared extinct in the 1950s. Non-migratory populations of the goose have actually increased in recent years, primarily by finding new habitat in urban areas.