In this guide, we will provide a comprehensive guide to American geese in Georgia from identification to behavior. So whether you are a resident of Georgia or just visiting, read on for some interesting facts about these fascinating birds!
What kind of geese are in Georgia?
There are two main species of Geese in Georgia, the Canada Goose and the Snow Goose. The Snow Goose is also further classified as the Lesser Snow Goose and the Greater Snow Goose, but these are essentially the same species. Neighboring states of Tennessee have more types of Geese, and Alabama have a wider range of Geese species, whilst there are less geese species in Florida but they do have the Egyptian goose!
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.
Canada Goose in Georgia
There are resident geese throughout Georgia, and it is estimated the goose population is over 45,000. Whilst Georgia just used to be a migratory route, since the 70’s there are resident geese nesting in Georgia.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division can help if you have goose problems as a property owner. These are a protected species under state and federal law, however they can send a licensed nuisance wildlife trapper for any adult geese which are causing a nuisance.
Most problems occur in June and July when they lose these flight feathers in the molting season and the flightless geese can’t fly off.
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!
Are geese protected in GA?
Yes. It is illegal to hunt, kill, sell, purchase or possess Canada geese except according to Georgia’s migratory bird regulations. The Snow Goose and Canada goose are both protected under state and federal law.
However, you can hunt them under the Migratory Bird Regulations as long as you have a license and permit and a Georgia Migratory Bird Stamp. There are also bag limits, you can see the latest season regulations here.
Tips for Dealing with Nuisance Geese
There are several ways to deal with geese in suburban neighborhood ponds, gold courses or local property. Try harassment techniques like mylar balloons, chemical repellents, string barriers or noise makers.
If these fail, property owners can apply for a permit to have the geese captured and relocated elsewhere.