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Goosin’ Around

Dec 15, 2014

You frequently see them taking five at any given park pond. But what’s the story behind those geese?

The Christmas goose is a holiday tradition in many Missouri homes. From sky to table, the Giant Canada is the largest goose in the world. Thought to be extinct 60 years ago, it’s a conservation success story. 2.6 million are harvested by hunters in North America and their numbers still increase.

Giant Canada geese enjoy the same areas we do: parks, lawns, golf courses and waterside areas. Their sheer numbers, droppings and loud honkings can cause problems. They also provide food and down for bedding and coats.

Canada Geese form strong family bonds; mating for life. The female builds an elevated nest with unobstructed views while the male defends. The young remain with them for about a year. These tasty birds can weigh more than twenty pounds and live up to 30 years.

Geeking Out About Geese

  • Geese dabble in water, graze in fields and lawns, and fly in “V” formation.
  • Their habitat is lakes, rivers, ponds, farm fields, lawns and yards
  • Geese typically have large bodies and a long neck, along with a black head with a white cheek patch.
  • They nest across North America. Female geese typically lay 2-8 eggs, which incubate for 25-28 days.
  • Some geese migrate…most do not.
  • They are known as herbivore grazers.

Prep for a waterfowl hunt with Jim Low of the Missouri Department of Conservation in this recent Google+ Hangout.

The Canada goose is a common winter resident in Missouri. Large numbers pass through the state in late February and early March. The largest concentration is usually found at Swan Lake in north central Missouri where about 130-thousand geese spend the winter each year.

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