Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)
The Canada Goose is a medium sized goose that is characterized by its black head and neck and white cheek strap. The body is charcoal brown, with a white belly. They have black legs, feet and bills. These birds are most often heard before they are seen as they have a loud “Honk” or Honk-alonk” call. They live in flocks and when migrating, make large “V-shaped” formations in the sky.
Canada Geese are long lived (may be greater than 20 years in the wild) and form long-term pair bonds (i.e., mate for life). They are faithful to their breeding and wintering grounds and will return to these sites year after year, provided there are enough resources (e.g. food availability).
History of Canada Geese in the Okanagan Valley
Up until the 1940’s, Canada Geese were considered migrants or summer visitants to the Okanagan Valley. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, resident populations became well established. This was largely due to the natural adaptability of geese and efforts made to increase the population in order to provide sport-harvest opportunities. What was not anticipated was the rapid change in the landscape from natural to agricultural and urban habitats and the closure of many areas to hunting.