The Canada, not Canadian, goose is a unique bird that lives throughout the United States and Canada during the year. Its scientific name is Branta canadensis and you can find them in the United States and Canada. Check out some fun general facts about these amazing birds.
Characteristics of Canada Geese
Most might think that birds are birds, but these large birds have some unique features.
- They can grow up to 3.5 ft tall with a wingspan of 5.6 ft. That wingspan is pretty impressive if you happen to stumble upon a nest.
- The average life span of these birds is about 24 years, but the oldest banded bird lived more than 30 years and was banded in 1969.
- The Canada goose has a black head and white neck along with a brown back. There are 11 subspecies of this goose but the Greater Canada goose is the largest. The other subspecies include Atlantic, Hudson Bay or Interior, Moffitt's or Great Basin, Lesser, Dusky, and Vancouver.
- Vocalizations are made through a honk, but there are different variations of their honk depending on what they are doing. For example, they hiss if they feel threatened.
Diet and Habitat
Geese are considered waterfowl for a reason. That is because they are found near water, but that's not all.
- These geese are found in or near water sources, like marshes, lakes, and ponds, in the northern part of the United States and Canada in the summer and the southern part of the United States in the winter.
- These birds migrate yearly and create a distinctive V formation, and follow the same migration pattern every year.
- Canada geese are herbivores, which means they eat grass and aquatic plants. However, they have been known to eat small fish and insects.
Birds of a feather flock together couldn't be truer for the Canada goose. These birds travel in flocks and migrate together.
- Canada geese find a mate at two to three years old.
- Nests can be built anywhere they deem safe, including urban areas, and they typically lay about five to seven eggs, which are defended by the adults. That doesn't mean it is their own parent either, these birds all work together to rear and defend young.
- Young geese might stay with a family for about a year before going off on their own.
- It takes about 10 weeks before the baby goose is ready to fly.
Now that we know the basic facts about these large waterfowl. It can be fun to look at some of the more extraordinary facts about the Canada goose.
- A 26-foot tall statue of a Canada goose is found in Wawa, Ontario. It is known as the largest Canada Goose.
- Farmers typically consider these birds a pest. It is easy to see why when you consider that 50 birds can produce 2.5 tons of poop in a year, according to National Geographic. Could you imagine cleaning that up?
- These birds will mate until they die. If one dies, they will find a new mate, but they are quite famous for mating for life.
- Since they fly in a v pattern, there has to be a bird that leads the pack. This bird not only has to be strong but smart as well to lead everyone.
- The Canada goose is federally protected so you can only hunt it during specific seasons, and it is a crime to destroy its eggs.
A Majestic Bird
The Canada goose is a particularly fun creature that has a loud distinctive honk that is typically seen flying in a v or lazing in water. However, these pesky birds have a fascinating family structure, which includes staying with a mate for life. And if you want to see a really big Canada goose check out Wawa, Ontario.