This large goose is a familiar sight throughout North America, not just in Canada. There are not many species of goose that have the size and variety of coloring, making the number of recognized subspecies a hot button topic and the subject of much debate. All Canada geese share a black head and neck with distinctive white cheek patches while some geese show a white ring at the base of the neck.
Canada geese have longer, flatter-sloped bills especially when comparing them to the smaller cackling geese. Most have medium to dark earth-brown upperparts, breast color ranges from silver gray – almost white to dark chocolate-brown, flanks are pale earth-brown, undertail areas and rump are white in contrast to dark tail feathers. Some Canada geese in British Columbia have had darker, barred underparts or are chocolate brown overall, with very little contrast between the dark breast and the black neck. Some can be light-breasted or nearly as dark in comparison and overlap in size with cackling geese. Some will also show a proportionally longer bill that often appears drooped at the tip, a more squared head shape, and longer thinner neck. Canada geese have proportionally shorter wings than cackling geese so the wing tips generally do not extend beyond the tail.
Many things have changed since the re-establishment of resident geese, particularly the use and development of our land resources. Creating open spaces with well manicured lawns, surrounded by ponds and lakes plus the lack of predators in these suburban settings creates an environment in which geese can thrive. Extensive food resources, excellent nesting areas, and security from predators are all that is needed to create a population explosion among resident Canada Geese. Often these geese feed in adjacent farmland creating a hardship to the land owner. Hunting access is often limited due to the proximity to human environments but isn’t prohibited and remains a very popular outdoor sporting hobby.