Back to the home page  
Canada's Species   Birds

Canada Goose

Branta canadensis

Photo: Wyman Meinzer, USFWS
Canada Goose. Photo:Wyman Meinzer, USFWS

The Canada goose must be one of Canada's most recognizable species, due to both its distinctive honking and its commanding appearance. The Canada goose is most often seen flying overhead in huge numbers in characteristic V-shaped formations during migration, which peaks in Canada during early-mid October, and again, in late April-early May. This species is a strict vegetarian. Although it consumes shoots, roots, berries and seeds of local plants during the breeding season in northern parts of Canada, the Canada goose builds up massive energy reserves on the way to breeding grounds, often by feeding on waste grain in agricultural fields. In turn, the Canada goose is a staple food item for natives of northern Canada; in Quebec, for instance, native hunters harvest 64,000 Canada Geese annually. In addition, each fall, sport hunters in Southern Quebec alone take 40,000-50,000 Canada geese. Populations of Canada goose have declined from the 1980's to the 1990's, suggesting that heavy hunting pressure may have an impact on goose populations.

Map of Canada Goose in Canada
Distribution of Canada Goose in Canada

Back to the main Birds page  
Previous species: Brant  
Next species: Bufflehead