Branta canadensis

Take a walk along any of the UK’s waterways, be it river, lake, reservoir or canal and you are sure to see a bird standing tall against all overs, that is the Canada goose. It’s the largest of all our geese standing at 100cm when an adult. Complete with a 6 foot wingspan and you can see why this goose is the largest of our geese, although its origins stem from North America hence the name, Canada goose.

Royal Approval

The Canada goose is thought to have been introduced to Britain around 1660 by the then King, Charles II. He introduced them to his already large wildfowl collection at St James Park in London. The birds, now having the Royal approval quickly became a common sight throughout England where one could see them from village ponds to

lakes.

Plumage

The Canada goose is a heavy bird with a brownish/grey plumage. They have a long

black neck and head with a white band running under the chin. These geese can live for 20 years in the wild and always mate for life. There are thought to be over 80,000 birds in the UK with more Canada Geese found in parts of Scandinaviain particular Sweden, Denmark and some parts of Norway.

Nesting

The Canada goose lay between 2-8 eggs in a nest made from down, reeds and grass. They build the nest close to the water’s edge but sheltered from the elements by bushes or reeds. If there’s an island on the water then you will always find Canada Geese nesting on there as it’s a favourite place for them to nest. Telling the difference between male and female is quite difficult as they exhibit the same coloration and build.

Diet

Their diet consists of grasses, aquatic plants, roots, and seeds. They tend to eat in shallow water but if food is available onshore like fields they will gather and feed freely there. They will easily muscle out smaller birds especially if humans are feeding them bread, seeds etc. Canadian Geese can be quite aggressive too especially if you are close to their nest and will chase people away.

Other Characteristics Other characteristics of the Canada goose include forming noisy flocks especially forming nurseries for the young. They fly in the typical goose V formation although the Canada Geese in the UK don’t migrate. In some parts of the country they have become a pest. They will intermingle with other geese including the Barnacle goose, and interbreeding has taken place.

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