Canada Goose Fact: Factors such as climate change and urban sprawl have helped to manifest a new phenomenon . . . goose residency year round!
Serving Illinois & Indiana
106 West Calendar Court
LaGrange, IL 60525
708 448.8848 (Fax)
Migratory Bird Management, LLC
Fax: (708) 448-8848
Resident Canada Geese tend to breed earlier than other species at 2 to 3 years of age. They lay larger clutches of eggs in nests that are built in more hospitable environments than migrant geese.
Canada Geese build nests with twigs, bark, and grasses and line them with soft feathers. They will usually select a site that is on the ground; although, in urban areas they can be found on the top of buildings! The incubation period is 25 to 30 days.
Canada Geese mate for life but will mate again upon the death of a mate. Geese lay about five eggs per nest; although, there may be as many as twelve. About 75 percent of those will become goslings by the fall flight season. This is a very low mortality rate in comparison to rural geese which have a rate of 59 percent on average. Each female will produce more than 50 young in her life span.
Protection from hunters has proven beneficial in bringing back what was once a dwindling goose population. Factors such as climate change and urban sprawl have helped to manifest a new phenomenon . . . goose residency year round!
Molting is the term that is given to the 8-10 week flightless period when Canada Geese shed their outer wing feathers and regrow new ones. Molting occurs between mid-June through August. Most birds are able to resume flight by mid-August.
During this molting period geese will gather on ponds or lakes since they provide a safe resting place and security from predators. These large groups of “flightless" geese are grounded and dependent on available food sources which often get overgrazed and subsequently they produce excess waste and destroy turf and other vegetation.
Geese without young will sometimes travel hundreds of miles to the security of favored molting areas in the north. These “molt migrations” account for the disappearance of local goose flocks in early June.
Once they have regrown their flight feathers in the autumn, geese will make longer flights. They are more likely to be found in areas away from water. In October, large resident flocks are often joined by migrating geese. You will see these birds feeding in area fields. This is also a time for pond hopping. Geese will generally return in spring to the location where they have nested or where they learned how to fly.
Canada Geese are grazers and move their broods to areas chosen for suitable food supply, visibility, and proximity to water. They prefer an open, unobstructed area so they can clearly see any potential predators. They prefer fertilized plants to unfertilized plants. Both parents will vigorously defend their brood for about 10 weeks. Along with their taste for local landscape vegetation and grass, they enjoy corn, soybeans, rice, wheat and other grains.
Human conflicts with geese arise for many reasons. Messy droppings can accumulate quickly because ONE Canada Goose defecates 28 times per day! This creates the potential for environmental problems and risk to human health. In addition, these geese can pose a threat to humans as they are known to display noisy and sometimes aggressive behavior while protecting their nests in Spring. Their presence also attracts true migrating groups of geese. They can destroy a lawn with trampling and their droppings can create problems leading to an overabundance of nitrogen that encourages algae to grow in ponds. They are quite aggressive toward people and pets during nesting season or when goslings are still present.
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