Canada Goose

Branta canadensis

Canada geese can fly over 600 miles each day while migrating.

Characteristics: The Canada goose has a black head with a white “chinstrap”. They range from 30-43 inches and has a wingspan of 50-73 inches. A male goose weighs from 6-14 pounds with an average of 8.5 pounds. Males and females look identical, however, the female averages slightly smaller in size.

Lifespan: Wild geese that survive to adulthood reach 10-24 years. Geese in captivity can live into their 40’s.

Habitat: Many habitats near water, grassy fields, and grain fields.

Range: Historically, the Canada goose summered in northern North America and migrated south as the weather became colder. Due to weather changes, settlement, and farming practices, some northern populations have shortened their migration routes. Some populations have even become permanent residents of human habitats across North America.

Diet: Primarily herbivores, however, they will consume some insects and fish. Canada geese eat grains, beans, grasses, aquatic plants and seaweed.

Behavior: Canada geese migrate in a traditional “V” formation and, if conditions are right, can cover over 1,500 miles in a 24 hour period. They are social birds and stay within flocks year-round except for breeding and nesting season. These birds are monogamous and typically stay with one partner their entire lives. Geese may attack humans if they feel they are their goslings are under attack. Before biting or attacking with their wings, they will hiss as a warning.

Keeper Notes: Our Canada goose was born in 2009 and raised by a wildlife rehabilitator. He became imprinted on humans and was not able to be released back into the wild. He came to live at the zoo in the fall of 2009. He lives in the deer exhibit and can often be seen socializing with “snowflake” (Tundra swan)