Anyone who has spent time around Oregon’s waterways will know that there is an abundance of geese.
Geese can be found in every corner of the state, and they come in all shapes and sizes. There are several different types of geese that call Oregon home.
We take a closer look at some of the most common types of geese in Oregon. We will also discuss their habits and where you can find them.
What Geese Are in Oregon?
There are eight species of geese found in Oregon.
- Canada Goose
- Snow Goose
- Ross’s Goose
- Cackling Goose
- Greater White-Fronted Goose
- Emperor Goose
- Tundra Bean-Goose
There are also three species of swans in Oregon – Tundra Swans, Trumpeter Swans and Mute Swans.
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.
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.
Cackling Goose (Branta hutchinsii)
Once considered part of the Canada Goose species, this has now been classified as a distinct species in its own right. It’s high pitched voice distinguishes it from the Canada goose which has a much lower pitched honk.
- Scientific Name: Branta hutchinsii
- Height: 24.8–25.6 in (63–65 cm)
- Wingspan: 43 inches
- Weight: 3.5 lbs
Cackling Goose Description
Very similar to the Canada Goose, but they have rounder heads and shorter bills. On the dark coast the birds are darker than those found on the east coast. The head is black with a white chin or neck strap, with a greyish brown body and black legs, feet and bill.
Listen to Cackling Goose
Cackling Goose Habitat and Range
The Cackling Goose’s breeding habitat is wet meadows near lakes or ponds where they feed on grasses, sedges, and other plants. They nest on the ground in areas that are often flooded by water during the spring months.
In the late summer months when the breeding season has ended, cackling geese will migrate southward towards warmer climates in order to escape cold weather conditions found further north.
Cackling Goose Diet
Cackling Geese are omnivores which means they eat both plants as well as seeds, roots, small animals such as insects or worms, and grasses during the summer months, and crustaceans such as clams or snails. However, their main source of food comes from grazing on grasses along marshes or fields which can be found near large bodies of water such as lakes or rivers.
Cackling Goose Nesting
Only females incubate the eggs (laying between 2-8) and the goslings leave the nest within 24 hours, and fledge at 6 weeks, though they stay with the family for migration.
Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons)
The Greater White-fronted goose is named after the white patch at the top of its bill. These are medium-sized geese. It is named for the patch of white feathers bordering the base of its bill. In fact, albifrons comes from the Latin albus “white” and frons “forehead”.
- Scientific Name: Anser albifrons
- Height: 64–81 cm (25–32 in)
- Wingspan: 130–165 cm (51–65 in)
- Weight: 1.93–3.31 kg (4 lb 4 oz – 7 lb 5 oz)
Greater White-fronted Goose Description
The Greater White-fronted Goose is a dusky-brown goose with a long, thin neck and a small bill. It is characterized by its white belly and white patch on its face with orange legs. The bill is pinkish or orange with a white tip.
Listen to Greater White-fronted Goose
Greater White-fronted Goose Habitat & Range
The Greater White-fronted Goose is native to the northern hemisphere in North America and Eurasia. They are found in open areas such as grasslands, wetlands, taiga, arctic tundra, and alpine meadows, pond edges and lakeshores during the summer months and migrate south for the winter months. They prefer to nest on tundra or lakeshores but will nest on rocky beaches if necessary.
The Greater White-fronted Goose can be found in the Arctic tundra of North America, Europe, and Asia. They are migratory birds that breed in Canada, the United States, Iceland, and Greenland. In the winter they migrate south to Northern Africa and southern Europe.
Greater White-fronted Goose Diet
They prefer grassy areas with some water nearby for food sources but can also adapt to other habitats. They also feed on plants such as sedges, grasses, rushes and other aquatic plants as well as insects such as beetles and spiders that live in these habitats. They also eat insects such as moths and worms as well as small frogs or fish.
Greater White-fronted Nesting
The population of Greater White-fronted Geese is estimated at around 10 million birds worldwide which makes them one of the most abundant geese species! They lay 5-6 cream colored eggs in grassy sections.
Emperor Goose (Anser Canagicus)
The Emperor Goose, also known as the beach goose or the painted goose, is one of the rarest geese in North America, and one that every birdwatcher hopes to see. This small and stocky goose is only found in Alaska. They are large birds with a wingspan of up to 4 feet and feed on the small plants in the mud at the edges of lakes and rivers, as well as roots and seeds.
- Scientific Name: Anser canagicus
- Height: 26–28 inches (66–71 cm) and females 25.6–27.5 inches (65–70 cm)
- Wingspan: 119 centimetres (47 in)
- Weight: Males – 2.766 kilograms (6.10 lb) and 3.129 kilograms (6.90 lb) / Females: 1.945 kilograms (4.29 lb)
Emperor Goose Description
The plumage is overall silvery gray, with a black and white margins making it look scaled. With a white head (which can become rust colored in the summer months), it has a black throat and its bill is small and pinkk, and the legs are orange. The sexes are similar, but juveniles have a duller plumage being gray all over.
Listen to Emperor Goose
Emperor Goose Habitat & Range
They are migratory birds, which means they travel long distances to breed and then return to the same location in the winter. Emperor geese migrate from Alaska to Japan and the western Aleutian Islands in the Alaskan Peninsula.
In the winter, emperor geese live in Alaska and winter in Alaska, Japan and the western Aleutian Islands of the Alaskan Peninsula. In the summer, they stay in Alaska.
Emperor Goose Diet
Emperor geese need large tracts of land with patchy vegetation, water, and ample food to survive. Emperor geese use their bills to catch fish (and occasionally small mammals) while swimming in the water or flying over it. They thrive in wetland habitats because they provide the birds with food and protection from predators such as bears and wolves.
Emperor Goose Nesting
The female emperor goose lays 3-8 eggs per season in a nest made from grasses and plant material. She does the majority of incubation of the eggs, which take about 30 days to hatch. The male takes on a more active role in rearing his offspring after they’ve hatched—he helps keep predators away, insulates them against heat loss, and protects them from harm by sheltering them under his wings or body when necessary.
Tundra Bean-Goose (Anser serrirostris)
The Tundra Bean-goose is a beautiful, unique bird breed in northern Siberia. This bird is also called the Pink-footed Goose, despite having feet that are mostly black. This bird is also called the Pink-footed Goose, despite having feet that are mostly black.
- Scientific Name: Anser serrirostris
- Height: 68 to 90 cm (27–35 in)
- Wingspan: 140 to 174 cm (55–69 in)
- Weight: 1.7–4 kg (3.7–8.8 lb)
Tundra Bean-Goose Description
The Tundra Bean-Goose is a medium-sized goose with a black head and neck, white cheeks, and a creamy-white breast. It has black wings with white primary feathers on the inner edges. Its tail is black with cream-colored tips on the outer feathers. The legs are pinkish-brown, and its bill is bright red.
While this bird spends most of its time foraging for food, it will often fly into the air at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour when disturbed by humans or predators. It’s also one of the fastest birds in the world.
Tundra Bean-Goose Sound
Tundra Bean-Goose Habitat & Range
The Tundra Bean Goose breeds in North America, Greenland, and Iceland. They migrate southwards in winter to Europe, Africa, South Asia, and Australia. The populations from Canada and Alaska migrate south through the Rocky Mountains into California, Mexico, and Central America.
While once common throughout their range, the population has declined dramatically due to hunting and habitat destruction. The species is currently listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) if climate change continues to impact its habitat.
Tundra Bean-Goose Diet
They eat grass and sedges, which they find by probing the ground with their bills. Their diet also includes insects such as beetles or flies and larvae, grasses, and sedges found in the wetland areas where they live. They are monogamous and form lifelong bonds with their mates.
Tundra Bean-Goose Nesting
This bird uses open grassy areas for breeding but will also nest on tundra and coastal areas where there are no trees or shrubs nearby such as Arctic tundra (where it can be found during summer months) or glaciated regions such as Greenland (where it can be seen during winter).
Where to Watch Geese in OR?
Oregon is a great place to see geese, especially in the winter.
The majority of wintering snow geese in Oregon are found along the lower Columbia River between the mouth of the Willamette River and Astoria. This is a great place to see these birds because they are attracted to the open water and grassy areas that are found here.
Summer Lake Wildlife Area is another great place to see geese. This area is known for its large populations of breeding and migrating birds, including geese.
In addition to being a great place to see geese, Summer Lake Wildlife Area is also a beautiful place to visit with its crystalline lakes and lush landscapes.
Are There Any Resident Flocks of Geese In OR?
Resident Canada geese are found throughout the Willamette Valley and Sauvie Island in Oregon, as well as along the Oregon coast and in other native wetlands throughout the state.
They can also be found at several National Wildlife Refuges, including the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge.
In addition, they often congregate at lakes, golf courses and ponds, where they can find food and safe places to rest.
While they are typically found in areas with water, they can also be seen in farmlands and grasslands, where they forage for food.
Geese Hunting in Oregon
In order to hunt geese in Oregon, hunters must have appropriate permits, stamps and licenses. A hunting license is required for all hunters and can be obtained from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Goose hunters in the Northwest Permit Zone must pass the Northwest Oregon Goose Test. Goose hunters must carry their Northwest Goose permit while hunting.
Can You Shoot a Goose in Oregon?
In Oregon, you can shoot geese with non-toxic shot approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
You can also use hunting methods that are allowed under federal regulations.
Hunting of waterfowl using lead shots is strictly prohibited. Oregon, like other states, has daily bag and possession limits on geese.
Where to Hunt Geese in OR?
Northwest Oregon, also known as the Northwest Oregon Permit Zone, is a great place to hunt geese.
The Willamette River Greenway, which runs through the region, is a perfect spot for box blinds and other hunting setups.
In addition, the Northwest Region is home to many different kinds of geese.
Is There a Goose Hunting Season in Oregon?
The goose hunting season in Oregon usually starts in October and runs through the middle to late January.
Conclusion on Geese in the State of Oregon
If you’re looking to see some of Oregon’s beautiful waterfowl, be sure to visit a park or wildlife refuge where you can find geese and swans.
There are plenty of locations throughout the state where you can catch sight of these graceful creatures.