The Canada Goose is a familiar sight throughout much of North America. They are particularly interesting to observe when migrating. Strings of geese flying in a V-shaped formation at speeds of up to 45 miles per hour, honking their hellos to their fellow geese is a sight to behold. They seem to be comfortable around humans and can often be seen in public parks, on golf courses and local lakes and ponds. Their population in urban areas has increased quite dramatically, to the degree that they are considered pests.
Canada Geese are large waterfowl with a long neck, big webbed feet, and a wide, flat bill. It has a distinctive black head and neck, and a white chinstrap, light tan breast and dark brown back. The young are similar in color to the adults but the breast feathers are narrower and softer and not as conspicuously tipped. The gander can sport a wingspan of as wide as 5 feet and weight up to 14 pounds.
They live over vast, varied areas from coastal plains in the Arctic, prairies and plains in the west, grasslands, grain fields and forested areas. They nest in the vicinity of water-near lakes, ponds, rivers, muskegs, fresh and saltwater marshes. They nest in a large hollow lined with plant matter and down, usually on the ground, often in beaver and muskrat houses. 4 to 6 white eggs are laid with an incubation period of somewhere between 24 to 28 days. The female incubates the eggs while the male guards the nest. The male is a fierce defender of his mate and offspring. He will charge an enemy as big as an elk. Geese are extremely protective and courageous. Both the male and female stay with their brood for up to a year after they hatch. The young migrate with their parents and do not separate until they return in the springtime.