Cackling Geese were once considered the same species. They're nearly identical but much smaller than most Canada Geese (some Cackling Geese may be as small as Mallards); Cackling Geese have a tiny, stubby, triangular bill. Greater White-fronted Geese have a brown, not black, neck and lack the white cheeks and throat. Snow Geese, whether the white or blue form, have an all-white head. Brant have a dark chest and the white is limited to the neck, not the cheek. The Barnacle Goose, very rare in North America, has an entirely white face, a black breast, and a gray and black barred back. Various domestic hybrid geese may have a wide variety of different markings.
Canada Geese tend to be smaller as you move northward; plumage tends to be darker as you move westward.
Mowing and maintaining lawns down to the water’s edge, or maintaining very large lawns anywhere near water are open invitations to Canada Geese. Plastic mesh placed over grass usually discourages them from walking on a lawn.
Consider putting up a nest box to attract a breeding pair. Make sure you put it up well before breeding season. Attach a guard to keep predators from raiding eggs and young. Find out more about nest boxes on our Attract Birds pages. You'll find plans for building a nest box of the appropriate size on our All About Birdhouses site.
Find This Bird
During summer, and increasingly at other times of year, Canada Geese are fairly easy to see, swimming in open water, resting near shore, or grazing on lawns or farm fields. They are often heard flying above, by day or night; if you study their honks you may notice the difference by sound when other species of geese or swans are flying.
Look for Canada Goose nests and contribute valuable data about them through NestWatch
Report your Canada Goose sightings to eBird