The Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) is the most known of our geese. It has a well-defined white "chin-strap" surrounded by its black head and neck. When it flies, you can see its dark wide wings, its white under tail covert and its rump's white crescent. From the country's west to east, varieties of Canada geese show different colours on their chests, from pale colours for the east canadensis to dark colours for the occidentalis in the south of Alaska. It is of smaller size in the north where it also nests; some strains are located as far as Groenland. The goose's call is a long "honk-a-lonk", well-known, low and melodious for the big races while more of a high rapid cackle for the others.
The Canada goose nests in open environments or in forests close to water. Canada geese fly V-shaped migratory flights while cackling above our heads, and mostly find their food in marshes, steppes and fields. It can spend up to 12 hours eating herbs, roots, leaves, and a variety of vegetable matter. It can also eat cereal wastes and seeds left in the fields. Facilities have allowed species to expand in the south of the area, along Canada's east and west coasts and also in the north of the United States. During winter, most of the strains seek warmer environments. Even if most of them winter in the south of Canada, many migrate to the south of the United States, and some even go as far as North Mexico! When the Canada goose begins its journey to the south, it can cover over a thousand kilometers in the air in only a day! When it is time to come back to its breeding site, its migration is very different and less performing because the number of stops to eat and rest are greater.
The female does not reproduce until it is two or three years of age. It will often choose the place it has first seen the world to nest. Next, it will come back to this same place each year to lay its eggs. Reproduction, always with the same partner, takes place soon during the year, usually between late March and early May, so the goslings can be fed with growing plants. Once the eggs are laid, they are brooded up to 28 days. The male stays close by the nest and looks after the female and the eggs in case a predator comes and threatens them.
Canada Goose on a Base
Canada Gooses on a Base
Male Canada Goose
Tilted Head Canada Goose