The diet of the Canada goose consists entirely of plant matter, including the leaves, stems and roots of various grasses, sedges and aquatic plants. This species also feeds on seeds, fruits and grains, and often eats agricultural crops (2) (4) (5) (6). Juvenile Canada geese may sometimes supplement their diet with insects and other small invertebrates attached to aquatic plants (6). The Canada goose usually feeds by grazing on land, but it also dabbles and upends in water, extending its long neck under the water to reach submerged vegetation (2) (4) (5).
The Canada goose is a social species and often feeds and moves around in large flocks, which typically fly in a ‘V’ formation. These flocks usually consist of loose aggregations of family groups and individuals (2) (5). The Canada goose is a strong flier and often undertakes long migration flights (5) (6), potentially covering up to 2,400 kilometres in just 24 hours (6).
During the breeding season, which usually occurs between about March and June (5), the Canada goose becomes territorial, with pairs beginning to defend nest sites and sometimes fighting aggressively (2) (5). This species may nest individually, but sometimes also builds its nests in loose colonies (2) (4) (5). The Canada goose typically nests on the ground near to water, often on an island, making a small depression in the ground and filling it with vegetation. The nest is lined with down and other feathers (2) (4) (5) (6). Occasionally, the Canada goose has been known to nest in trees, on cliffs or even on the tops of city buildings (4) (5).
Canada geese mate for life, and pairs remain together year-round (2) (5) (6). The female chooses the nest site, builds the nest and incubates the eggs, while the male guards her and the nest (2) (6). The Canada goose usually lays a single clutch of eggs each year, producing around two to eight creamy white eggs per clutch. The eggs hatch after 25 to 28 days and the chicks are able to leave the nest and feed themselves within a day or so of hatching (2) (5). The young geese are not capable of flight until they are about six to nine weeks old (5), and they remain with the adults for their first year of life (2) (5) (6).
Most Canada geese do not breed until they are two to four years old (2) (4) (5). Although Canada goose eggs and chicks may be predated by foxes, gulls, ravens, eagles and bears (5) (6), the adults have relatively few natural predators, only occasionally being taken by wolves, coyotes or large birds of prey (5). The Canada goose can potentially live for up to an impressive 80 years in captivity (6) and up to 30 years in the wild (2), although a lifespan of less than 20 years is more usual (6).