Page 136 - A Field Guide to Fairfax County's Plants and Wildlife
P. 136
ada Goose

(Branta canadensis)


These large water birds (length 76 to 110
centimeters; wingspan 1.3 to 1.7 meters) have
a grey-brown body, long black neck and a
white “chin strap.” Sexes are similar, although females are smaller than males.
Song: a musical, trumpet-like honking. Call: various cackles, honks and hisses.
Canada Geese mate for life. The female builds a nest on the ground and lines
it with feathers. She lays two to eight eggs and incubates them while the male
stands guard. Goslings (baby geese) are able to walk only a few hours after
hatching. Both parents care for the goslings as they grow. Goose families
usually remain together until the next breeding season.

Angry Bird: Canada Geese may attack Distribution and Habitat
if they feel threatened. They hiss,
spread their wings and charge, and These geese are found in all five
can bite… hard! They may also strike physiographic provinces, usually
with their wings. near water, grassy lawns or
agricultural fields. They are often
Resident geese numbers can grow seen in parks, golf courses and
to harmful levels. Geese that stay in other suburban areas, sometimes in
the same place year-round leave lots large numbers. Although technically
of waste behind. Just 50 geese can a migratory species, most of the
produce more than 2 ½ tons of feces a Canada Geese in Fairfax County are
year! Too much goose waste may over- year-round residents.
fertilize lawns and pollute waterways.
Role in Food Web

Canada Geese eat a variety of
aquatic plants as well as grasses,
grains and berries. Eggs and
young are preyed upon by birds of
prey, Common Snapping Turtles,
Raccoons, Virginia Opossums, foxes
and Coyotes. Adults can defend
themselves from most predators
(except humans).

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