Geese Facts

The average life span of Canadian geese is between ten and twenty-five years, however there are reports of life expectancy over thirty years in the natural environment. Reports of a pair in captivity lived over forty years until the male was killed in an accident. The female followed a few months later (McAtee 1924).

Contributing factors for the mortality are hunting, both legal and illegal, predators including fox, skunks, weasels, raccoons, gulls, crows and snapping turtles. Goslings are also at risk from eagles and owls. Adults are prey to eagles, foxes and coyotes. Illness is yet another cause of mortality, as are environmental toxins, bacteria, viruses and parasites. Old age, egg addling, lethal management in gas chambers and slaughterhouses, violence and accidents also contribute to  premature death.

Canadian Geese are generally very social. Tolerance is a goose virtue, but aggression is not uncommon during nesting. Each maintains strong family bonds while the male and female raise the brood together. Researchers have discovered that communication is achieved through thirteen distinct calls ranging from clucking during feeding, to greetings, contentment, warnings and alarm.
It is suggested that the V-flight formation creates an up-draft enabling the flock to travel nearly seventy percent farther than if  flying solo. (Lissamon and Schollenberger 1970).

The majority of adults begin searching for a mate at approximately three year old, yet a few begin one year sooner. These pairs mate for life. If one dies, the other will once again find a mate, usually during the same breeding season.

As soon as nesting begins, both the male and female  defend the nest. The female will  lay eggs an egg approximately every 36 hours. Once  eggs are laid, the process of incubation begins. This process lasts approximately twenty-eight days. An average clutch contains five eggs though this number can vary from two to twelve. The eggs hatch at one after the other so adults lead the goslings to safety. If a nest destroyed and it’s early in the breeding season, the adults will immediately begin the process of building another that is close to the original location.

Canadian Geese nesting sites are almost always  within 100′ of a body of water. A ideal site includes: along shorelines surrounded by vegetation, on islands, in artificial structures, at the base of trees, under shrubs, within aquatic vegetation, rooftops, doorways, and landscapes, just about anywhere that provides water and privacy.

As grazers, Canadian Geese are mainly vegetarians although fish or insects are eaten in small quantities.  They feed in relatively open areas in order to detect potential predators and other types of danger.

Each year every goose goes through a molting period to replace  lost, damaged, or deteriorated primary feathers during the summer. This phase generally lasts 30 days during which time they cannot fly.

During this flightless period, the geese prefer to be in open areas that are adjacent to water and food resources. This arrangement provide all the geese need during the flightless period. In rural, suburban and urban areas, lawns, manicured parks, and golf courses are perfect for their habitat requirements.

When it comes to controlling the population, if prior to nesting is missed, the molting period provides a second critical time frame for goose management. At this point, due to the inability to fly, geese can be captured…. and RELEASED into a natural environment far from homeowner’s developments and golf courses.