Canada Goose
Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network

Canada Goose
Overview:

Includes the migratory Interior Canada Goose and the resident Giant Canada Goose. The Interior Canada goose ranges in size from 16” to 25”; the larger Giant Canada Goose is 35” to 45” with an average wingspan of 68”—over 5 feet. Both have a black head with a white “chinstrap,” a dark brown upper body with a U-shaped white band on the rump, and white plumage on the breast and belly.

Habitat:

Open bays, tidal rivers, marshes and grain fields. Resident geese are increasingly common in urban settings such as parks, large yards, reservoirs and golf courses.

Range:

Migratory Canada geese of the Atlantic Flyway typically breed from the northern prairies eastward to Hudson Bay, migrating south to the Chesapeake region in autumn.

Diet:

Marsh plants, grain.

Call:

Loud, resonant honk in flight. Listen to a sample (Requires RealPlayer)

Cool Facts:

Flying at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour, the classic “V” formation of migratory Canada geese is a common sight around the Bay in late summer and early autumn as flocks arrive from their northern breeding grounds. Different birds take turns in the lead. And as for the legend that Canada geese mate for life, that’s true up to a point. Pairs do remain bonded as long as both are alive, but when one dies the survivor will take a new mate.

The decoy pictured is from the collection of the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art and was photographed by Middleton Evans. Waterfowl sounds are courtesy of the Macaulay Lab of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.


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