the Pacific Northwest’s Canada goose population

The activities of large groups of Canada geese lead to soil erosion as a result of over-grazing of ground cover. This soil erosion when mixed with copious amounts of droppings leads to poor water quality. Because resident Canada geese do not migrate, the decline happens rapidly and integrated management plans are necessary to give more sensitive species a chance. Additionally, humans benefit from the process as well, and get to enjoy clean outdoor spaces that have a diversity of wildlife to watch and enjoy. This is our goal. We want Canada geese to have a place in all of this and our efforts serve to disperse the geese into smaller groups that will have a less deleterious impact on local habitats. If they aren’t going to migrate, then it is vital that they congregate in smaller groups to prevent habitat degradation and disease transmission between birds. At Geese Guys, we contribute to efforts that encourage ecosystem health and resilience and strive to support healthier wildlife and human populations.


QUICK FACTS

  • One adult Canada goose consumes 3 to 4 pounds of grass and creates 2 to 3 pounds of droppings per day!
  • Canada geese can live 30+ years.
  • A female Canada goose can hatch 12+ eggs per breeding season.
  • One female goose can produce more than 240 goslings in her lifetime.
  • Canada geese are divided into 2 separate population types: resident non-migratory groups and migratory groups.
  • 6 distinctly different subspecies of Canada geese can be observed in the Pacific Northwest: 2 of which are listed as a species of concern.
  • Oregon and Washington are located within the Pacific Flyway for migratory birds.
  • In 2013, the Pacific Flyway population of Canada geese reached 220,000 individuals.
  • The Pacific Flyway population of Canada geese has increased at a rate of 9% each year and is predicted to continue to rise exponentially.
  • Canada geese are extremely adaptive and easily acclimate to man made habitats and urban areas.
  • Humane management of Canada geese can help to stabilize populations and decrease conflict between these animals and humans.

MIGRATION

Canada geese are known for their seasonal migrations. Most Canada geese have staging or resting areas where they join up with others. Their autumn migration can be seen from August to the beginning of December. The early migrants have a tendency to spend less time at rest stops and go through the migration much faster. The later birds usually spend more time at rest stops. Some geese return to the same nesting ground year after year and lay eggs with their mate, raising them in the same way each year.

REPRODUCTION

During the second year of their lives, Canada geese find a mate. They are monogamous, and most couples stay together all of their lives. If one dies, the other may find a new mate. The female lays from two to 9 eggs with an average of five, and both parents protect the nest while the eggs incubate, but the female spends more time at the nest than the male.

The incubation period, in which the female incubates while the male remains nearby, lasts for 24–28 days after laying. 

As soon as the goslings hatch, they are immediately capable of walking, swimming, and finding their own food. Parents are often seen leading their goslings in a line.