Everything You Wanted To Know About Geese
Habitat: Canada Geese can be found in most types of wetland. Although they are waterfowl, they spend as much time on land as they do in the water. They can also be found grazing on lawns of businesses, parks and on golf courses.
How Often: Canada Geese mate once a year. They mate for life but if their mate dies, the goose will try to find another mating partner.
Location: Canada geese like to select nesting sites on elevated, secluded areas near bodies of water like lakes, streams, and ponds. The female goose builds a nest lined with plant material and down that she plucks from her body, and lays an egg each day in until a full clutch of up to 9 eggs are laid. The male geese acts as a sentry, watching the nest from a nearby location and attacking if anything gets too close.
Offspring: 2-9 eggs laid at a time.
Rearing: Baby geese, called goslings, are incredibly impressionable and will follow virtually anything that moves, thinking it to be their mother.
Less than 24 hours after they are born, goslings will be lead to water by their parents to learn how to swim. The goslings will be able to dive 30-40 feet underwater by the time they are 1 day old.
As they become more independent of their parents, groups of goslings may join together, forming "gang broods" of up to 100 goslings.
Goslings learn to fly between 2-3 months of age. For the first year of their lives, they stay with their parents, and will follow their parents during their first migration before forming into groups with other young geese.
Sexual Maturity: Canada Geese will begin searching for a mate between 2 - 3 years of age.
Food and Feeding
Canada geese are herbivores and primarily eat green vegetation, grasses, aquatic plants, and grains, but they do occasionally eat fish and insects.
In the spring and summer months, Canadian geese eat leaves, flowers, stems, roots, seeds and berries. They will often eat for 12 hours or more a day to consume a sufficient amount of nutrients. They feed even more intensively right before they fly north after the winter, storing energy for an active breeding period and preparing for a lack of food in the spring.
In urban areas, many of them will pick food off of the streets and even out of garbage cans.
Morphology and Lifestyle
Physiology: The Canada Goose is well known due to their distinctive black head, white cheeks, long black neck and webbed feet.
Body Size: 30 to 43 inches
Wing Span: Average wingspan is 4.2 to 5.6 feet. Their size is relative to a 6ft man.
Weight: Average weight varies between the subspecies, from 1.1kg for the cackling Canada Goose to 8kg for the Giant Canada Goose
Migration: Canada geese normally migrate to southern agricultural areas for the winter. To do so, they fly in the distinct “V” pattern, where one goose is the leader and its flock follows behind in a v-shape. This helps the geese save energy when they migrate, benefit from the air currents passing the leader, permitting them to fly longer distances. The v-shape also allows for an easier coordination of the flock's movements, such as a change in flight speed or direction. The formation lets these changes be communicated quickly and efficiently to all geese in the flock. Some may decide to not migrate and stay in colder climates if food is available.
Call: Adult Canada Geese have about 13 different calls, ranging from low clucks and murmurs communicated while feeding and loud greeting and alarm calls. Goslings even start to communicate with their parents while they're still in the egg. A gosling can make a call, or peep, if it's distressed or content.
Lifespan: Canada Geese live around 10-25 years on average in the wild although some may live to be as old as 30 years old.