Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Jim Parrish
Photo Copyright Jim Parrish

The Canada goose, Branta canadensis, is a common breeding bird throughout Utah, and many populations in the state are year-round residents. It also breeds in Alaska, Canada, and the northern United States, and winters south to northern Mexico. Breeding takes place in a wide variety of habitats, but usually in close proximity to water. Nests are typically large structures of plant material lined with down that are usually in a small depression on the ground near water. Eggs are typically laid in late April, and often number five or six, though as few as two or as many as eleven eggs may be laid. Incubation is done by the female alone for 25 to 30 days while the male guards the nest site. Young are tended by both parents and are able to fly after nine weeks. Young remain with the parents until the following spring. Canada geese feed on a variety of plant material, including shoots, grasses, and grains, as well as on aquatic invertebrates.


  • Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birder's handbook: a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. Simon and Shuster, Inc., New York. xxx + 785 pp.

  • Baicich, P. J., and C. J. O. Harrison. 1997. A guide to the nests, eggs, and nestlings of North American Birds, Second Ed. Academic Press, San Diego. 347 pp.