The Canada Goose is the most common and best-known goose in North America. The head and neck of this goose are black and there is a white patch extending from the chin, up to the cheeks, to behind the eyes. The body feathers are grayish-brown and the tail is black, while the feathers around the base are white. The legs and bill are completely black. Unlike most birds, the males and females have similar plumage. The Canada Goose usually weighs about 4 kg (9 lbs) but may vary from 3 to 6.3 kg (7 to 14 lbs). Its wingspan is from 1.5 to 2 m (5 to 6-1/2 feet), while the bird itself can be from 89 to 109 cm (35 to 43 inches) in length.
Canada Geese can be found in most of Canada and the United States. They will migrate as far south as the Gulf of Mexico in the winter. Flocks of Canada Geese are easily distinguishable because they fly in “V” shaped formations. During the 17th and 18th centuries, they were brought to Europe and today, can be found on the lakes of many country estates. Canada Geese prefer inland waters such as lakes and marshlands.
The diet of this goose consists mainly of vegetation. It grazes along the shore to feed on grass, rushes and water plants; however, it will also move inland to feed on corn and wheat. During the breeding season, they feed on worms, insects, snails, crustaceans, and even small fish. While in the water, they feed in the same manner as ducks.
Reproduction and Offspring
Canada Geese mate for life and will arrive at the breeding areas in pairs. However, some fighting between the males does take place anyway. Nesting begins in March or April. This goose usually makes its nest on a mound in a marsh. It uses twigs, weeds, grass, and reeds, and lines the nest with down. The nest holds from five to nine pale green, yellowish or buff-white eggs. The best breeding grounds of the Canada Goose are in northern Canada.
The arrival of the Canada Geese in the northern regions of America has always been the signal that spring has come. The month that they arrive is known to the Indians around Hudson’s Bay as the Goose Moon.