Canadian Goose Series

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The Canada Goose is a large wild goose with a black head and neck, white cheeks, white under its chin, and a brown body.  It is native to the Arctic and temperate regions of North America.  Its migration occasionally reaches northern Europe.

Canadian Geese found in Indiana do not complete the traditional fall migration.  They often migrate only a short distance, and can be seen throughout the year in Indiana.

Canada geese were in decline at the beginning of the 20th century as a result of unregulated hunting. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 established regular hunting seasons, but by 1962 the drainage of wetlands brought them to the brink of extinction in the eastern United States. Efforts by conservationists helped to re-establish Canada goose populations. Within the past 20 years, Indiana‚Äôs Canada goose population has grown to almost 120,000 birds. The increase in small urban and suburban retention ponds, the high reproductive success and the low mortality of the Canada goose subspecies found in Indiana all contribute to the growing population size.  The lifespan in the wild of geese that survive to adulthood ranges from 10 to 24 years.

Because humans and Canada geese frequent the same places (beaches, shorelines, lakes, etc.) there are sometimes conflicts. During breeding season the adults become very aggressive and have been known to attack humans in order to protect their nests and goslings (baby geese). Geese also leave large quantities of feces and molted feathers, which are considered health risks to humans.

Despite its increasing numbers, the Canada goose is still federally protected. This means is that Canada geese can only be hunted during specified hunting seasons and within specified hunting parameters. During breeding season, a registration number from the website of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must be obtained in order to disturb any Canadian goose nests. It is a federal crime with severe penalties to disturb a goose nest or to break or remove eggs without this registration number.

Goose Facts

There are 11 different subspecies of the Canada goose. The most distinguishing feature among these subspecies is size. The Giant Canada goose (Branta canadensis maxima) found in Indiana is the largest of these. It also has light-colored breast feathers, white flecks on the head, larger bill size and longer legs than other subspecies.

The average weight of the Giant Canada goose is about 12 pounds. Males are slightly larger than females.

Canada geese mate for life. If one partner dies, a new pair bond is usually established.

The female incubates the eggs for 25-30 days, then both the male and female care for the goslings.

Goslings are usually capable of flight about 71 days after hatching.

*** The photos used in this postcard series were taken in May 2021 in Schererville, Indiana.  

Additional Information can be found here:

Audubon Guide to North American Birds: Canada Goose

The Cornell Labs: Canada Goose Identification

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