Canada Goose

Canada Geese and White-Fronted Goose

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Canada Goose

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Canada Goose

Photo of Canada goose
Branta canadensis
Anatidae (ducks, geese, swans) in the order Anseriformes

Canada geese have a grayish-brown or tan body, usually with lighter-colored underparts. The long neck and head are black, as are the legs and webbed feet. A white chin patch extends along the sides of the head to the ears. During migration, they fly in chevrons (V-shaped groups).

Length: 24–48 inches (tip of bill to tip of tail).
Habitat and conservation: 
Canada geese live on farm ponds, lakes, and marshes. Once close to extinction, this species has made an amazing recovery. They can be so numerous they cause problems from overgrazing, abundant droppings, collisions with aircraft, destruction of newly sprouted crops, and more. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act protects these geese, their nests, and eggs, but the Missouri Department of Conservation can issue permits to help control nuisance geese.
Canada geese are herbivore grazers, feeding on aquatic vegetation, tender grasses, and various other plants and seeds, as well as insects and aquatic organisms.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Common statewide on ponds, lakes, and marshes. In coldest winters, fewer Canada geese stay in northern Missouri.
Locally common summer resident on farm ponds, lakes, and marshes; common migrant and winter resident throughout the state.
Life cycle: 
The giant Canada goose subspecies is resident in Missouri, while other subspecies are seasonal migrants only. Their calls as they fly over in a V-formation signal spring and autumn. Pairs bond in their second year of life and stay together for life (if one is killed, the other may find another mate). Usually 3–8 eggs are laid; adults lose their flight feathers during incubation and cannot fly for nearly a month. Young do not leave their parents until after the spring migration.
Human connections: 
Canada geese are popular among waterfowl hunters, but less popular in areas where their numbers cause inconvenience for landowners, golfers, park supervisors, and others.
Ecosystem connections: 
Many predators feed on the eggs and young. In addition to their grazing in wetlands throughout the state, Canada geese and other waterfowl have an important impact when they gather in wetland staging areas along migration routes.
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