Canadian Geese Biology

Resident geese typically breed 2 to 3 years earlier than migrating geese, have larger clutches, and nests built in more hospitable environments.

Canadian geese build their nests with bark, twigs, and grasses,  lined with soft feathers. Nests are typically on the ground. Incubation is 25 to 30 days.

Canadian geese mate for life unless a mate dies. Geese lay approximately five eggs in each nest, although at times there are many as twelve. In rural areas approximately 59 percent will survive to the fall flight season. Each female produces more than 50 young in her life span.

As a protected species, once dwindling populations have rebounded considerably. Factors such as eradication of adults while goslings survive, climate change and housing sprawl have helped to create a new dilemma — resident geese!


Molting describes the 8-10 week flightless period when Canadian geese shed and regrow their primary wing feathers. Molting occurs mid-June through August at wich time most geese are able to resume flight.

During the molt geese congregate on ponds or lakes for security from predators. During the molt, Canadian geese damage landscapes adjacent to the water.

Adult geese without young often travel hundreds of miles to the security a favorite molting spot in the north. “Molt migrations” account for the disappearance of local resident geese in early June.

Autumn Migration

Upon the regrowth of flight feathers in autumn, geese embark on longer flights, resting in areas that are away from the water. In large resident flocks band together with migrating geese in fields. It is also a time to move from one body of water to another. Geese typically return to their nesting site each spring.


Canadian geese raise their broods in areas of optimal visibility, food supply, and access to water. An open, unobstructed view is preferable for the detection of potential predators. Fertilized plants are preferred over unfertilized. Adult geese will forcefully defend their young for the first 10 weeks. At this time, they are often described as vicious. They enjoy landscape vegetation and grass, corn, soybeans, wheat,  rice, and grains.


The conflict between geese and humans occurs for a variety of reasons. The fact that one Canadian goose can defecate almost 30 times a day is one reason.  Due to the potential for environmental impact and the risk to human health, geese are often mistreated. Add the fact that in protecting their young, geese may present agressive behaviors. Flocks of geese defacation can destroy lawns due to an abundance of nitrogen, and ponds by the overgrowth of algae.

GEESE RELEASE  — send the flock on its way!