Canada Goose

Branta canadensis

Canada GooseCanada geese are everywhere in Minnesota. From farm fields to golf courses. The Canada goose population has grown so large that hunters have been offered late summer, fall and winter hunting seasons. Canada geese, which eat aquatic insects, soybeans and plants, can be found on most bodies of water.


General description: A large, light brown goose with a white chin and a black neck, head, bill and feet.

Length: 22 to 40 inches - wingspan is about 5 to 6 feet.

Weight: 2 to 18 pounds.

Color: Brown and white.

Sounds: Various "honking" sounds.


Canada geese mate for life, and both parents help raise the young. The mating season runs from March to April, after which eggs are laid. Hatching begins 25 to 30 days later. Baby geese (goslings), which are covered in yellowish down, leave the nest shortly after hatching.


Canada geese eat aquatic plants, insects, grass, soybeans and other crops.


Mink, raccoons, great-horned owls, fox and dogs.

Habitat and range

Lakes, ponds, marshes and rivers. Many Canada geese stay in Minnesota throughout the winter, although some migrate south to any number of states. They breed statewide, but are most common in the western and southern portions of the state.

Population and management

In recent years the Canada goose population has increased dramatically both in Minnesota and the Midwest. State wildlife agencies have increased bag limits and season lengths in hopes of keeping the population in check. In 1999, Minnesota hunters harvested about 285,000 Canada geese.

Fun facts

Canada geese migrate in V-shaped flocks, sometimes flying as far as 4,000 miles. In addition, Canada geese have eleven subspecies, ranging from three to 20 pounds.