The Canada goose is one of the best known birds in North America. Typically these birds spend the summer in northern North America and fly south when cold weather arrives, but because of the changing weather, settlement and farming patterns, many have altered their migrations. When the Canada geese migrate, they form the recognizable and aerodynamic “V-formation” and with a favorable wind can cover 1,500 miles in just 24 hours. Their migration formations are not only memorable for the sight but also the sound since the geese honk their way along known paths. This goose is very social and stays in flocks year-round, except when nesting.
Distribution: Wetlands and grasslands from northern Canada through central Mexico, and introduced to western Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
Diet in the Wild: Plant stems, leaves, fruits, seeds and tubers
Diet at Caldwell Zoo: Grain
IUCN Red List Status: Least concern, population increasing
Canada geese are migratory birds across much of their range, and it is not uncommon to see and hear a flock of them flying through the sky in their signature V-formation while making loud “honking” calls.
Canada geese were listed as endangered by the U.S. federal government in 1967. Populations had declined drastically due to the introduction of foxes to goose breeding grounds, with pressures from habitat alteration and loss also contributing to declines. Thanks to careful study of this species’ behaviors and breeding grounds, along with protections under federal law, Canada goose population numbers have surged, resulting in their reclassification to threatened in 1990 and their removal from the federal list of endangered and threatened species in 2001.