Our Wild Neighbors

Canada Goose

Branta canadensis

A regular visitor that often arrives in a flock!

Image of a Canada Goose, seen in profile with its head to the left, mounted on a marble base.

Description of the animal

  • Large bird, member of the Anatidae family, which includes geese, swans, and ducks.
  • White cheeks and throat, black neck, head, and beak.
  • Brownish-grey feathers on body with lighter ribbons throughout.
  • White lower abdomen and rump, black tail.

Habitat and needs

  • Can live in diverse habitats, including cities.
  • Breeds throughout Canada, except in the extreme Arctic.
  • Builds its nest on the ground, near water, preferably on a small island.
  • Mates with a partner for life!
  • Eats soft shoots, grass stems, clover, watercress, and aquatic plants.
  • Goslings require a protein-rich diet for proper development. They pick at aquatic vegetation to capture insects, small crustaceans, and mollusks.
  • Migrates in groups, adopting a “V” flying formation and emitting honking calls.

Relationship

  • In Quebec, in French, it is also called an “outarde.”
  • The Canada goose was introduced in Europe.
  • It is hunted for its delicious meat.
  • In large numbers, Canada geese are more likely to transmit diseases or parasites.
  • The Canada goose’s feces can contribute to water pollution.
  • This bird can negatively affect harvests, since it eats cereal crops.
  • During migration, flocks of geese sometimes damage airplanes during take-offs and landings.

Living with them

  • Avoid feeding the Canada goose.
  • Hunting is subject to the Migratory Birds Convention Act, which specifies hunting locations, time of year, and the bag limit.
  • To prevent a Canada goose invasion, you can:
  • Install physical barriers around water sources, such as rocks or bushes for example. Potential Canada goose predators can wait there in ambush, preventing the goose from accessing grassy feeding areas.
  • Stop mowing the grass around ponds. The Canada goose will have more difficulty finding new shoots.

Participating cities where this animal has been seen