The Canada goose is the most abundant migratory waterfowl species to winter in the Chesapeake Bay area. As temperatures fall, its resonate honking fills rural landscapes.
The characteristics of this grayish-brown bird include a plump body, long neck and head, a white band of feathers on chin and cheeks, and a broad black bill.
Canada geese are grazers, often dipping their heads below the water’s surface to feed on bay grasses. They have also become accustomed to eating agricultural “leftovers” in fields of wheat and corn.
A social species, these birds tend to gather in large flocks. During migration they can sustain flight speeds of over 35 miles an hour, traveling in a V-formation with the strongest mature geese in the lead.
Canada geese mate for life and can live up to 25 years. (When a pair is broken apart, a new mate is chosen). Females lay an average of five eggs per clutch, and both parents care for the young; family groups stay together for several months.
Maryland also has a resident population of Canada geese. Distinct from their migratory cousins that nest in northern Canada, the year-round residents may be products of our state’s earliest Canada goose stocking in Maryland, which dates back to 1935 when a group of 41 geese were transplanted from the Midwest to Dorchester County.
adult & gosling Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)
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