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Merlin Bird ID

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    Canada Goose

    ID Info
    Silhouette GeeseGeese

    Canada Goose

    Branta canadensis
    • ORDER: Anseriformes
    • FAMILY: Anatidae
    Basic Description

    The big, black-necked Canada Goose with its signature white chinstrap mark is a familiar and widespread bird of fields and parks. Thousands of “honkers” migrate north and south each year, filling the sky with long V-formations. But as lawns have proliferated, more and more of these grassland-adapted birds are staying put in urban and suburban areas year-round, where some people regard them as pests.

    More ID Info
    image of range map for Canada GooseRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

    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.

    Other Names
    • Barnacla Canadiense Grande (Spanish)
    • Bernache du Canada (French)

    Backyard Tips

    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.

    • Cool Facts