Canada Goose Facts
  • Life expectancy: about 20 years
  • Weight: 20-25 pounds
  • The average adult goose eats approximately 3 lbs. of grass per day (or 5 sq.ft. of turf each day)
  • The average adult goose leaves approx. 1-3 lbs. of excrement each day.
  • The Canada geese population grows about 19.5% each year.
  • Migration is a learned process.
  • Migratory geese flight range: 2,000 – 3,000 miles
  • Resident geese flight range: 100 –200 miles to find food, water, and safety.
  • Resident geese can fly long distances as their migratory cousins, but generally have learned that it is not necessary.
  • Mating season: February to March
  • Geese mate for life and will stay together during all seasons.
  • Geese will find a new mate if mate dies or is killed.
  • Migratory geese nest in Canada.
  • Geese nesting in the U.S. are "resident" geese.
  • Resident geese were imported to the area for rebuilding dwindling numbers for conservation or hunting decades ago. The urban nuisance was not anticipated.
  • Nesting Season:  Mid March to mid May
  • Age of geese when they begin to nest: 3 years
  • Geese return to the general area of their birth each year to mate and nest. Sometimes the exact site, sometimes a nearby pond or other body of water.
  • The instinct to return to their general area of birth is very strong.
  • Migratory geese fly 2,000–3,000 miles to return to these sites.
  • Resident geese do not know how to migrate.
  • When geese are chased from their traditional nesting area, or the nesting area has too many nesting pairs, they find alternative sites to nest … sometimes farther from water, sometimes in nearby ponds, sometimes on rooftops or balconies. They will hide their nests.
  • Geese generally prefer isolated sites near water to nest.  Islands are their favorite location.
  • nest

    Click image to enlarge. Photo credits, Mdf.

  • Nests are usually on the ground, in the open.
  • Before incubation, eggs are usually buried in twigs, grass or even found debris.
  • Sometimes geese nest in brushy or swampy areas, not subject to flooding.
  • When egg laying begins, the "father" goose will stand sentinel watch nearby, but not so close as to give away the location of the nest to a predator. When a solitary goose is seen during nesting season, a nest is surely somewhere in the vicinity.
  • The eggs in a nest are called a "clutch"
  • Average number of eggs in a nest: 5
  • The mother goose lays one egg approximately one day apart until full clutch is obtained.
  • Eggs not being incubated are cool to the touch.
  • The mother goose waits until all eggs are laid before she begins to sit on the nest to incubate eggs.
  • Incubation time:  28 – 30 days
  • Undeveloped eggs (still fluid) will sink or float vertically with the wider portion of the egg pointing down.
  • Developed eggs will float horizontally or at a slight angle and break the surface of the water. At that point they are one to two weeks away from hatching.
  • All geese eggs in a single clutch hatch on approximately the same day.
  • Baby geese are called "goslings".
  • Natural predators of geese are foxes, raccoons, owls and snapping turtles.
  • Goslings can fly approximately 2-3 months after hatching.
  • During June, adult geese lose wing feathers and are unable to fly. This is called “molting”.
  • Molting season runs from early June to late July.
  • Geese can fly again approximately 6 weeks after molting.
  • Generally by early August, all geese (except injured ones) are able to fly.
  • During the molt, geese need to be near water sources for easy escape from predators. The molting area needs an easily accessible food supply.