Whether you are interested in geese watching or hunting, in this guide, we will provide a complete guide to the geese in Alabama from the different types of geese that can be found in the state, to their behavior and diet. Of the nine types of geese in Northern America, 6 are found in Alabama.
By the end of this guide, you will have a better understanding of these amazing creatures and how to best enjoy them in Alabama, and if you are interested in other birds in Alabama, check out our state guide.
What Geese Are in Alabama?
There are three main types of resident geese that can be found in Alabama: Canada goose, snow goose and Ross’s goose. These resident flocks are generally found in the northern and central parts of the state on golf courses, parks and gardens.
The resident Canada geese are often seen as a nuisance in some parts, as their numbers are so abundant and the Wildlife service often does issue permits to keep the numbers of the resident birds in check.
- Snow Goose
- Ross’s Goose
- Canada Goose
Also seen but not resident
- Greater white-fronted goose
- Cackling goose
Neighboring Tennessee has similar geese species, whilst Georgia has a smaller range of geese and Mississippi has less geese species, and Florida has three types of geese.
Snow Goose (Anser caerulescens)
The Snow Goose is one of the most abundant geese in North America, and has been hunted heavily for its meat by humans for centuries; its population has declined significantly since the 1960s due to hunting pressure and habitat loss caused by human activity. These birds are also known to migrate long distances, often flying over 2000 miles in a single journey! They are very social animals, and can be found in flocks of thousands during migration season.
- Scientific Name: Anser caerulescens
- Height: 64 to 79 cm (25 to 31 in.)
- Wingspan: 135 to 165 cm (53 to 65 in)
- Weight: 2.05 to 2.7 kg (4.5 to 6.0 lb)
Snow Goose Description
The snow goose is a large waterfowl that has white plumage with black wingtips and is a species of goose native to North America, the tundra, and grasslands. It has a black neck, white cheeks, and a pale gray belly. It also has a black bill with a yellow tip. Its feet are orange to dull greenish yellow. They are large birds, averaging between 3.2-4.9 kg and often exhibit black bars on their wings and a white patch on the rump.
Snow Goose Sound
Snow Goose Habitat & Range
These birds are capable of flying for long distances without getting rest. It is one of the few species that can fly non-stop for 3,000 miles without stopping for rest or food.
They are mostly found in the Arctic areas, including North America, Greenland and Canada, where their numbers have increased in recent years due to conservation efforts to protect them from extinction.
They migrate south during the winter months when food supplies are scarce.
Snow Goose Diet
They have been known to eat a variety of foods including seeds, roots and tubers as well as insects, snails and small fish. The Snow Goose is one of the few species of geese that have been observed using tools to help them catch prey. They have been seen using sticks or stones as weapons or shields when hunting for food!
They can also dive underwater to get food which means they don’t need to eat on land all the time like other birds do (they can just swim around until they find something they like).
Snow Goose Nesting
Snow geese are known to mate for life. A male will typically find two or three females depending on his age and experience level as a hunter-gatherer type personality. A female may lay up to 14 eggs at once but usually, only 1 or 2 survive because of predators such as other birds like raptors and even humans who hunt them down during hunting season!
Ross’s Goose (Anser Rossii)
Ross’s Goose is an excellent flier but is known for being rather clumsy on land due to its short legs and long body. The wings are broad and have white tips, which are visible when flying overhead or from afar as they flap their wings rapidly while flying low over water bodies such as lakes or rivers (where many other geese stop for food sources). They also make loud honking calls that sound like “honk-honk-honk” while flying overhead; this call seems fitting considering how clumsy they are on land!
- Scientific Name: Anser rossii
- Height: Male: 23.2-25.2 in (59–64 cm) / Female: 22.6-24.4 in (57.3–62 cm)
- Wingspan: 44.5-45.7 in (113–116 cm)
- Weight: Male: 42.3-55.3 oz (1198-1567 g) / Female: 37.6–51.3 oz (1066–1454 g)
Ross’s Goose Description
A mallard-sized white goose with black wingtips and tail, a relatively short neck, and a pink bill and the legs are pink. Very similar to the Snow Goose, which it is often seen with, but is smaller with a smaller bill and a rounder head.
Ross’s Goose Sound
Ross’s Goose Habitat & Range
This bird can be found in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and the Arctic tundra of North America and Eurasia during the summer months.
However, during the winter months, it migrates south to California, Mexico, and Texas where they spend time from November through March each year before returning north again when spring arrives again.
Ross’s Goose Diet
In the summer months, it lives in wetlands, lakes, and rivers where it feeds on aquatic plants. In the winter it moves south to warmer climates where it feeds on grasses, grains, and other types of vegetation. The Ross’s Goose has a unique diet, which includes small fish and insects.
Ross’s Goose Nesting
The Ross’s goose nests near water, often on islands or peninsulas. The nest is a scrape in the ground, lined with vegetation. The female lays three to seven eggs.
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)
The Canada goose is the most common goose species in North America. These birds are easily recognizable thanks to their black heads and necks, white chins, and brown bodies.
- Scientific Name: Branta canadensis
- Height: 75 to 110 cm (30 to 43 in)
- Wingspan: 127–185 cm (50–73 in)
- Weight: Usual: 2.6–6.5 kg (5.7–14.3 lb); Average: 3.9 kg (8.6 lb)
Canada Goose Description
Canada goose is a large water bird that has a black head and neck, white cheeks, and a brownish-gray body. They have webbed feet and can be seen on lakes, ponds, and rivers throughout the United States in summer.
Canada Goose Sound
Canada Goose Habitat & Range
Their habitat includes grasslands, marshes, open woodland areas, and agricultural fields including cornfields where they eat the seeds on the ground.
They are often found near lakes, ponds, rivers, marshes, and open fields where they feed on grasses, aquatic plants, small animals, insects, and grain crops.
Canada Goose Diet
Canada geese are popular game birds; they are also used for their feathers and leather. Their diet consists mainly of plant material including grasses and grains, but occasionally insect larvae and worms.
Canada Goose Nesting
Canada geese typically mate for life and often return to the same nesting site year after year. These birds build their nests on the ground, near water sources such as lakes or ponds.
During the nesting season, female Canada geese will lay between three and eight eggs. Once the eggs hatch, the goslings will stay with their parents until they are ready to migrate in the autumn.
A sub species of the Canada goose is the Giant Canada Goose.
If you are planning on hunting geese then see theAlabama Waterfowl Hunting Guide. The Alabama waterfowl hunting guide sets out the same shooting hours and bag limits allowed by the Alabama department.
Can you shoot A Goose in Alabama?
Yes, with a few conditions. You cannot hunt in the summer breeding grounds or the molting period and you must have a valid hunting license and you may only hunt during the open season which typically runs from September to February, and during the day shooting hours.
The current conditions (2022) in the hunting season are:
ALL GEESE: – The total bag limit of 5 dark geese (Canada, Whitefronted, Brant) can not include more than 1 Brant. Additionally, a total bag limit of 5 light geese (Snow, Blue, Ross’s) may be harvested per day.
DARK GEESE: (Canada, White-fronted, Brant) – 5 a Day. The total bag limit of 5 shall not include more than 3 Canada Geese or 1 Brant.
LIGHT GEESE: (Snow, Blue, Ross’s) – The total bag limit shall be 5 a day.
Always check for the up to date limits as the USDA wildlife services strive to keep the natural resources like fish and wildlife well stocked.
Where can I hunt geese in Alabama?
You’ll find them on any number of our state’s wildlife management areas, which are operated by the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division. Here you can enjoy public access for fishing or hunting; it’s your choice!
Is there a goose hunting season in Alabama?
Yes, generally the regular waterfowl season runs from October to February and the state runs an aggregate bag limit.
Take Away on Alabama Geese
There are large flocks of geese present throughout Alabama, providing adequate opportunity for hunting and viewing. Geese are generally found in the northern and central parts of the state with three main types of resident geese: Canada goose, snow goose and Ross’s goose. A female goose can have over 40 offspring, so numbers are healthy and continuing to rise.
Jim Addison is an avid bird watcher and has been obsessed with the activity since he was a young boy.
He has traveled all over North America in search of new and interesting species to observe, and his detailed knowledge of the subject makes him a sought-after expert on the topic.