General Biology, Reproduction, and Behavior

Canada GeeseWaterfowl are monogamous and solitary nesters. They nest within 100 feet of open water, usually directly adjacent to the water along the edge of a pond. In New Jersey, nesting occurs in mid-April. Egg laying follows immediately after the nest is constructed; an egg is laid about every two days. A typical clutch is made up of 4 to 7 eggs.

The female does all the incubation and the male is the defender of the female and the nest, striking anyone with its wings and by nipping. Incubation does not begin until all the eggs are laid so all the goslings hatch the same day. At 10 weeks, the goslings can fly, and begin to adopt most of their adult behavioral characteristics.

The size of the nesting territory is determined by the aggressiveness of the particular pair of birds. Pair formation in Canadian geese tends to be permanent until one of the pair dies; the remaining bird will often re-mate within the same breeding season. Since geese can live as long as 20 years, there are many offspring produced by a pair.

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