Once close to extinction, Canada geese have made an amazing recovery. They can be so numerous they cause problems from overgrazing, abundant droppings, collisions with aircraft, destruction of newly sprouted crops, and more.
Canada geese form pairs in their second year of life and stay together for life (if one is killed, the other may find another mate). Usually 3–8 eggs are laid; adults lose their flight feathers during incubation and cannot fly for nearly a month.
Canada geese are recognizable by their brownish bodies, black necks and heads, and a distinctive broad white patch that runs beneath their heads from ear to ear. During migration, they fly in chevrons (V-shaped groups).
Upon hatching, Canada geese young are clothed in yellow down feathers and can walk and swim within a few days. The goslings stay with their parents all the time and do not leave them until after the spring migration. Canada geese can live to be 30 years old.
MDC staff band giant Canada geese (shown here in Cape Girardeau County) to obtain data on the birds' movements, mortality, reproduction, harvest and survival rates. Each goose was released at the same area where it was captured and banded.
MDC protects and manages Missouri's fish, forest, and wildlife resources. We also facilitate your participation in resource-management activities, and we provide opportunities for you to use, enjoy and learn about nature. Read more about our mission.