All About Canada Geese
Canada geese are one of the most widely recognized birds throughout North America, making an appearance in every U.S. state and province in Canada at some time during the year. They are easy to distinguish from other geese, not only because they are the largest species of goose in the world, but also their signature elongated black neck and head, white neckline, and brown breast.
A highly adaptable species, Canada geese have over the years modified their migration patterns as a result of changing weather and farming cycles. Although it remains similar to the standard bird migration pattern of flying south when winter arrives, some Canada geese have remained permanently in human habitats that offer suitable year-long warmth like golf courses, parks, and even airports.
Because of this, Canada geese are able to survive in many different habitats, especially those with an abundance of food like grass, grains, or berries, although they will also on occasion eat fish or insects. Some geese in urban areas will eat food found on the streets or crops and pastures in farms. However, one of the main reasons for their migration is because they need open water where they can hunt for food and avoid any land-based predators such as coyotes, foxes, raccoons, and bears.
When migrating, they fly in their recognizable V formation, communicating by honking at one another and taking turns as the lead goose. Depending on the tailwind, Canada geese can reach speeds of up to 70 miles per hour when flying, although their average is more around the 40 miles per hour mark. They can fly as far as 1,500 miles in a single day with good weather, and their migrations can cover distances of upwards of 3,000 miles.
Every summer, a Canada goose will shed and replace all of its flight feathers, which stops them from being able to fly for six weeks. In the wild, they can live quite a long time, with an average lifespan of anywhere from 10 to 25 years, whilst those reared in captivity can approach 40 years old. When nesting, they will choose elevated and secluded areas near the water, with female Canada geese laying around 5 eggs in total.
Like many other creatures, Canada geese will only show aggressive behavior if it feels something is threatening its young, called goslings whom stay with their parents for the first year of their lives. To start, they will elongate their neck and honk loudly to ward off any predators. If needed, it will also hiss and flap its wings, or even bite in self-defense.