There are many different types of geese in the state of Washington, and they can be found in many different places.
Some people may see them at a park or a golf course, while others may see them on the side of the road.
No matter where you see them, it’s always interesting to take a look at these beautiful creatures.
What Geese Are in Washington?
There are eight types of geese in the state of Washington.
- Canada Goose
- Snow Goose
- Ross’s Goose
- Cackling Goose
- Greater White-Fronted Goose
- Emperor Goose
- Taiga Bean 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.
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.
Taiga Bean-Goose (Anser fabalis)
The Taiga Bean-goose is one of the rarest birds in North America. It was first observed in 1804, and it has been spotted only a handful of times since then. It is also known as the Bean Goose, Jack Snipe Goose, or Buff-breasted Goose.
- Scientific Name: Anser fabalis
- 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)
Taiga Bean-Goose Description
It has black plumage on its back and brown plumage on its chest, with white on its face and neck. It also has a bright red bill and legs, which help to distinguish it from other species of goose that have similar markings but different colors on their legs or bills.
Taiga Bean-Goose Sound
Taiga Bean-Goose Habitat & Range
The Taiga Bean-Goose breeds in the taiga of northern Russia and winters in Southeast Asia, China, and Japan. It is a migratory bird that breeds in the taiga of northern Europe and Asia, with the majority of its population wintering in southeast Europe.
The Taiga Bean-goose can be found in northern Canada and Alaska during the summer months. However, they migrate southward during the winter months so they can remain warm enough to survive in these cold climates. This bird prefers to live in remote areas such as bogs or wetlands where there aren’t many humans around so that it doesn’t have to compete for food with people or other animals such as bears or wolves (which might prey upon them).
Taiga Bean-Goose Diet
The Taiga Bean-Goose feeds on plants like sedges and grass, which they find by digging through snow or using their bill to probe beneath it. Their diet also includes insects like grasshoppers, snails, and worms. These birds have an average lifespan of 20 years, but some have been known to live as long as 40 years!
This bird prefers cold climates—its range includes tundra and taiga forests that are above the tree line in the northern hemisphere. It breeds in these areas and migrates south during winter.
Taiga Bean-Goose Nesting
The Taiga Bean Goose is a protected species in Canada as well as many other countries throughout Europe and Asia. It’s one of the most common species of geese found throughout these areas, so it’s very important that we continue protecting them so that they don’t become extinct!
Brant (Branta bernicla)
The black brant is the smallest and darkest member of the ” true geese ” (i.e., those belonging to the genus Branta ), with a body length of 50–60 cm (20–24 in). It has a short, stout bill and legs, and is slightly smaller than the Canada goose. The black brant is a gregarious bird, forming large flocks outside the breeding season. It feeds on grasses and other aquatic plants, and will uproot crops if its numbers are high enough.
- Scientific Name: Branta bernicla
- Height: 55–66 cm (22–26 in)
- Wingspan: 106–121 cm (42–48 in)
- Weight: 0.88–2.2 kg (1.9–4.9 lb)
The Brant is similar to the Canada Goose with a black head and neck with a white neck collar, but is smaller with a shorter neck, with dark bellies. There are several subspecies which have different coloration on the bellies and sides, known tas the Black Brant or the Pacific Brant, the Pale-bellied Brant or Atlantic Brant and the dark bellied brant breeds of Europe.
Listen to Brant
Brant Habitat & Range
The brant goose is a migratory bird, wintering in southern Europe, Africa, and western Asia. It is an occasional vagrant to North America, where it is most often seen in eastern Canada and the northeastern United States.
It can be found in North America and spends most of its time in coastal waters. Brant migrate from their wintering grounds back to their breeding grounds each year.
Most brant geese feed only on a single species of seagrass, known as eelgrass. They also eat sea lettuce, but their primary food source is eelgrass. They prefer eating at night because it’s easier to spot prey when it’s dark out (they have poor eyesight). Brant prefers living near bodies of water such as lakes or oceans because they need water to survive – without it, they would die within days.
Females lay 3-5 eggs in a nest of moss and down.
Where to Watch Geese in WA?
Geese are a common sight in Washington, and they can be found in a variety of habitats.
However, the best place to see geese is in Skagit Valley.
This area is home to a large population of geese, and it is known for its beautiful wetlands. In addition, Skagit Valley is an excellent place for birdwatching, as it is home to a variety of other bird species.
Snow geese spend their summers on Wrangel Island where they have their nest sites.
It’s truly impressive that hundreds of winter snow geese travel thousands of miles from their breeding grounds in Wrangel Island in Russia to spend their winter months in their wintering grounds in Western Washington.
Some of these water birds travel further south towards California’s Central Valley.
Are There Any Resident Flocks of Geese in the State of Washington?
Washington is home to a large population of resident Canada geese.
These geese have adapted to living in a range of habitats, from open farmland to urban parks. In the winter months, they can be found in sheltered areas near water, such as lakes, rivers, and coastal marshes.
As the weather warms up, they move to higher elevations in search of food.
In the summer months, they can be found in mountain meadows and forested areas.
No matter where they are living, resident Canada geese need access to water so that they can drink and bathe. They also prefer areas with plenty of grass so that they can graze on the aquatic vegetation.
Geese Hunting in Washington
Waterfowl hunting is a popular pastime in Washington, and the state is home to a variety of different species of geese.
In order to hunt geese in Washington, you will need to purchase a small game license from the WDFW.
If you are 16 or older, you must also purchase a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) migratory bird permit and a federal duck stamp.
These requirements are in place to help protect waterfowl populations and ensure that hunters are properly trained and equipped.
In addition, all hunters must adhere to the state’s hunting regulations, which are designed to promote safety and conservation.
Can You Shoot Geese in WA?
In Washington, it is illegal to shoot geese with a shotgun that can hold more than three shells.
This is because excessive gunfire can scare away other birds and disturb the peace of the area.
In addition, all waterfowl hunting requires the use of non-toxic shots such as steel. This is to protect the environment from lead poisoning.
Additionally, all waterfowl hunters should be aware of Washinton’s daily bag and possession limits.
Where Can I Hunt Geese in WA?
Hunting geese can be a rewarding experience, and Washington state provides ample opportunity for success.
In terms of sheer numbers, Grant County is the best place to hunt geese, with Franklin, Benton, Skagit, Yakima, Walla Walla and Spokane counties also providing good populations.
But hunters should also keep in mind that different types of geese inhabit different areas.
Is There a Goose Hunting Season in Washington?
Goose hunting season in Washington runs from September to January, giving hunters ample opportunity to bag a bird or two.
During this time, geese are particularly active, making them easy targets for skilled hunters.
Conclusion on Geese in WA
Washington is a great place to be for bird watchers and hunters alike.
With eight types of geese, there are plenty of opportunities to see these beautiful creatures in the wild.
The state also offers many hunting areas where you can bag yourself a goose or two.
If you’re looking for an amazing bird-watching experience while they fly overhead or some good old-fashioned goose hunting, Washington is the place to be!