Goose family (Anatidae)
Our most common and familiar goose. Black head and neck, conspicuous white strap under chin, grayish-brown back and wings, black rump and tail, brownish-gray breast and belly, black feet. In flight, shows large, dark wings and long, thin neck. Flocks of Canada Geese fly in lines or in a vee formation.
Lakes, ponds, meadows
Male and female mate for life. Usually nests on the ground near water, on a slightly elevated site. Canada Geese nest early, beginning around mid-March. Eggs are large, white. Clutch size – 2 to 8 eggs. Goslings are precocial, fully covered with down, leave nest within 24 hours, fly 6 to 7 weeks after hatching.
Call is a two-syllable “ahonk ahonk”, given in flight.
Branta from English brant for “burn”, in reference to the charred or burnt appearance of the bird’s plumage, especially around the neck;canadensis for the bird’s main summer range.
In the Nature Park:
Year-round resident. Common at the Quarry Pond.
Canada Geese are a success story in wildlife management. Once reduced markedly in numbers and distribution, populations have increased dramatically since the 1940s. Canada Geese used to migrate south for the winter. They now stay in northern areas during winter because of increased food availability, reduced hunting pressure and possibly changes in weather.
Canada Geese mostly eat plants, but occasionally eat fish and insects. An individual may live for 10 to 25 years. A male and female usually mate for life. Their nests are usually located in an elevated area near water, with the eggs laid in a shallow depression lined with plants and downy feathers.
The Canada Goose is often referred to as the Canadian Goose, but this is incorrect. The correct name is Canada Goose.