Canada Goose

General Description of the Canada Goose

Geese are prevalent in Montana.  The average Canada Goose is ; average length is 40 inches or 100 cm. Each Canada goose has a black head and a fancy neck, large brown with golden hue wings, and a black tail with cute white down feather butt.

Canada Goose flying
Google Images Link to Canada Geese

Characteristics of the Canada Goose

Canada Goose Habitat Range Map
Montana Map – Canada Goose Range
Canada Goose Habitat Range Map
Montana Map – Canada Goose Range

The Canada Goose differs from other geese like the Brant in that they have a broad white chin strap rather than a small whitish patch on either side of the neck. Canada geese differ from Barnacle Geese (Branta leucopsis) in that a Barnacle goose has a white face and blue-gray wings where the Canada goose has a masked looking face with a black tail and gray to golden brown wings.
Montana Goose Population Map

Snow Goose Populations in MontanaWestern Hemisphere Goose Population Range Map

Canada Goose Migration

In areas surrounding Bozeman, MT the Canada goose migration occurs in February at around the 20th and continues through April 15th.  Then the migration continues in mid October and doesn’t stop until after January 1.  Canada goose migration peaks on in mid March and mid November.


The typical Canada Goose habitat is fields and river banks near large bodies of water.  In Montana, typical habitat includes the Yellowstone River and miles of island and riverside grasslands and meadows along the river.  In north-central Montana, Canada Geese nesting patterns statistically show:

  • Canada Geese choose islands 76% of the time for nesting
  • They choose sagebrush 6% of the time,
  • They nest in meadows 18% of the time
  • And they nest on reservoirs of 4% of the time.

Canada Goose Food Habits

Report for the lower Yellowstone River valley:
Canada Geese used wheat fields in early fall and primarily corn fields in mid-fall. They eat grains.

Ecology of Canada Geese

Statistics from the Montana State Website report that goose gosling mortality for Canada Geese was 25% on Flathead Lake and about 10% on Flathead River.

Reproductive Characteristics of the Canada Goose

In the Montana Flathead Valley, the eggs of Canada Geese are produced from March through April and hatching begins in April and continues through May. Population statistics have varied greatly throughout the years.  Reports from the 1950’s showed high success rates in breading but twenty years late showed significant drops.  In 2012, the goose populations thrived.

Canada Goose field guide

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