Vermont has no less than eight different species of geese calling our state home!
Geese can be found in all corners of Vermont, but some areas are better for bird-watching than others like Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area or The Champlain Valley, but find out more below!
What Geese Are in Vermont?
Vermont is home to the following goose species:
- Canada Goose
- Snow Goose
- Ross’s Goose
- Cackling Goose
- Greater White-Fronted Goose
- Barnacle Goose
- Pink-footed Goose
Greater White-fronted Goose
Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis)
Rare in North America and when spotted its usually within a flock of Canada Geese.
- Scientific Name: Branta leucopsis
- Height: 55–70 cm (22–28 in)
- Wingspan: 130–145 cm (51–57 in)
- Weight: 1.21–2.23 kg (2.7–4.9 lb)
Barnacle Goose Description
The barnacle goose is a small goose with a white body and black wings, a black neck, with a white face and black bill. Its crown, eye line and legs are black.
Listen to Barnacle Goose
Barnacle Goose Habitat & Range
Barnacle geese are migratory geese that are native to the Arctic and northern Europe. They spend winters in southern Europe, Africa, India, and Australia. They breed in Iceland, Greenland, Northern Scandinavia, and Canada.
Barnacle Goose Diet
Barnacle Geese feed primarily on grasses, leaves, and other aquatic plants, grains, and algae during their breeding season but also consume insects during migration periods when food may be scarce.
Barnacle Goose Nesting
The Barnacle Goose lays 4-6 eggs in a nest lined with down but on the rock edge. The young Barnacle Goslings have to undergo significant challenges making their way from cliff edges to the water below a few hours after hatching.
Pink-footed Goose (Anser brachyrhynchus)
- Scientific Name: Anser brachyrhynchus
- Height: 60–75 cm (24–30 in)
- Wingspan: 135–170 cm (53–67 in)
- Weight: 1.8–3.4 kg (4.0–7.5 lb)
This is a rare visitor to North Eastern US, but becoming increasingly more common as it migrates with other geese species. It is a small goose which breeds in the Artic.
Pink-footed Goose Description
The Pink-footed Goose is a medium-sized goose with a pinkish bill and legs, as well as a white belly. It has a white head and neck with a black stripe running down its back and a black tail. The body is white except for a black breast, belly, and vent. The bill is yellow and red, with yellow on top and red on the bottom. The legs are pink.
Listen to Pink-footed Goose
Pink-footed Goose Habitat & Range
It’s a migratory goose that breeds in Iceland, Greenland, and Scandinavia. It winters on the coasts of North America and Europe. They are also known for gathering in large flocks to feed or roost together during migration.
In winter, they migrate south to warmer climates in Europe or Africa. The population is large enough that they can survive in areas where there is no natural water source for them to nest in—they simply dig holes in dry grassland instead.
Pink-footed Goose Diet
Pink-footed geese feed on aquatic plants, including algae and tubers such as sedges and grasses; they also eat small fish and invertebrates such as snails or worms when they can find them.
Pink-footed Goose Nesting
They breed on the Arctic tundra near ponds or lakes that have open water in summer. Their nests are made formed in rocky crags. They lay 3-6 eggs per clutch and both parents incubate them for about 25 days.
Where to Watch Geese in the State of Vermont?
Vermont is a popular destination for geese during the spring migration. Each year, thousands of geese make the journey to through Vermont since it is along the Atlantic Flyway, as a stopover for these migrating birds.
Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area is one of the best places to see them.
The Champlain Valley is also a good spot to view geese, particularly in late March and early April. During this time of year, many different species of geese can be seen in Vermont.
Are There Any Resident Geese Flocks In Vermont?
Resident Canada geese are found throughout Vermont in agricultural fields, pasturelands, hayfields, golf courses, parks, and along rivers and ponds.
In the agricultural fields, they feed on leftover grain and grasses. On golf courses, they eat the grass that is trimmed around the greens and fairways.
In parks, they eat the grass that is found in open fields and along trails. And along rivers and ponds, they eat aquatic plants, small fish, and invertebrates.
Although they are typically found in these areas, they will also occasionally venture into urban areas to forage for food.
Some consider that these resident geese have become a nuisance, destroying habitat and some of them are aggressive.
Geese Hunting in Vermont
Hunting is a popular pastime in Vermont, and there are many different animals that can be hunted in the state with one of the most popular animals to hunt is geese.
While hunting geese can be a fun and challenging experience, it is important to make sure that you are following all of the state’s regulations.
In Vermont, you need a license to hunt geese, as well as a federal duck stamp.
You can purchase the appropriate licenses, permits and stamps from Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department.
Can You Shoot a Goose in Vermont?
In Vermont, you can shoot geese with a shotgun that has a one-piece plug or is manufactured to restrict it to a three-shot capacity.
Only non-toxic shots approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are allowed.
Waterfowl may be taken only by shotgun, so you’ll need to make sure your gun meets the requirements before heading out.
Additionally, you should be aware of the daily bag limit and possession limit set by Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department so that you will know how many birds you can have.
The office allowed the reduction of the population of migrating greater and lesser snow geese.
Where Can I Hunt Geese in VT?
Geese are a popular game bird in Vermont, and there are three main areas where they can be hunted: the Lake Champlain Zone, the Connecticut River Zone, and the Interior Vermont Zone.
Each zone has its own rules and regulations, so be sure to check with the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department before heading out.
The Lake Champlain Zone, which includes Lake Champlain and the adjoining Champlain Valley lowlands, is the most popular area for goose hunting, as it offers a variety of habitats and a large population of birds.
The Connecticut River Zone is also a good place to hunt, though it can be more challenging due to the narrower terrain.
The Interior Vermont Zone is typically less crowded than the other two zones, making it a good choice for those looking for a more peaceful hunting experience.
There are controlled hunts in Mud Creek and Dead Creek WMAs.
Regardless of where you go, you’re sure to enjoy some great goose hunting in Vermont.
Is There a Goose Hunting Season in Vermont?
Yes. Goose hunting season in Vermont takes place in the months of September to January. A conservation order usually happens from March to April.
Conclusion on Geese in VT
If you’re looking for a great place to bird-watch or hunt waterfowl, Vermont is the perfect state. With eight different species of geese and plenty of other birds, you’re sure to see something interesting.
Be sure to check out some of the great locations we’ve highlighted in this post!