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Canada Geese

Branta canadensis


The Canada goose is one of the most easily recognizable waterfowl species in the United States, with their large brown bodies, black necks and striking white cheek patch.


Canada geese can be found throughout North America, from the Arctic to Northern Mexico. They can be found in many habitats closely associated with water, including marshes, lakes and ponds.

Canada geese typically feed in open grassy areas. As such, they are attracted to urban areas with well-maintained lawns such as golf courses and parks. They will fly to open water to roost or to sleep at night. Their preferred food source is grass, but Canada geese will also feed on other natural food sources, including grains, aquatic plants and berries.


Florida is home to year-round resident Canada geese, which do not migrate.

During most of the year, Canada geese remain together in large flocks. Like some other bird species, they are monogamous, meaning that they mate for life, and pairs remain together throughout the year. However, if a mate dies, they will seek another goose to mate with.

The mating season occurs in the Spring. During this time mated pairs will leave the larger flock and create territories of their own. They will defend their territories from other geese, wildlife, people and pets.

Canada geese nest on the ground. Their large, cup-shaped nests are made with grasses and other plant material, with an inner lining of down and feathers. They typically have 2 to 8 eggs per nest, with eggs hatching at about 30 days. Young geese (called goslings) may remain with their parents for their entire first year.

If they feel threatened, Canada geese may aggressively protect their nests and young. You should not approach Canada geese or feed them. 

Additional Information

As with all other native migratory birds, Canada geese are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and state protected by Florida’s adoption of the MBTA (Florida rule 68A-16) and general prohibition for nest take (Florida Rule 68A-9.002).

Canada geese are a game species and can be hunted in Florida with a valid hunting license, migratory bird permit, Florida waterfowl permit and federal duck stamp. For more information, visit our hunting page for season dates and bag limits for waterfowl and other migratory birds.