Important Goose Species in Georgia
There are two species of geese found in Georgia. The most
common is the resident Canada goose, and the other species is the
migratory snow goose. Snow geese are relative newcomers to
Georgia. As their population has greatly increased over the
past several years, their wintering area has expanded to include
The Canada goose has become a common resident of Georgia.
Practically all of the Canada geese seen in Georgia are resident
birds, they are not migratory. These birds spend all year in
our state, even though they may use different habitats during the
summer and the winter.
- Breeding Area - Resident Canada geese breed across the state of
- Breeding Habitat - Ranges from isolated ponds and wetlands to
- Average Clutch Size - 5 eggs
- Incubation - 26 days
- Average Nest Success - 70%
- Adult Survival - 80%
- Wintering Areas - Various habitats across the state
- Food Habits - Clovers, grasses, and cultivated grains.
Historically, migratory Canada geese passed through Georgia on
their way to an important wintering area, St. Marks National
Wildlife Refuge in Florida. Over time, the migratory
population of Canada geese began to decline, and fewer and fewer
geese passed through Georgia. Today, there are virtually no
migratory Canada geese present in Georgia during the winter.
In 1975, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources began a
program to re-establish Canada geese in Georgia. During
the restocking period of the late 1970's and early 1980's,
thousands of wild Canada geese were released on reservoirs and farm
ponds across the state. Canada geese quickly adapted to the
available habitats in Georgia, and our resident goose population
began to grow and expand into new areas.
Currently, Georgia's Canada goose population is estimated at
approximately 45,000 birds. Some of our resident geese have
adapted so well to life in urban and suburban areas that they cause
problems in certain situations. Geese often use habitats such
as golf courses, beaches, lawns, housing developments around major
impoundments, and man-made ponds in subdivisions and apartment
complexes. Goose-human interactions occur often in these
settings. In situations where geese are causing problems, the
Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources
Division, has trained personnel who can provide technical guidance
and assistance to solve these problems.
There are two different species of snow geese, the lesser snow
goose and the greater snow goose. The lesser snow goose is
the species found in our state, and it is a relative newcomer to
Georgia. The population of mid-continent lesser snow geese
has increased greatly during the last several years, and more and
more lesser snow geese are now wintering in Georgia. Lesser
snow geese come in two distinct color phases, a white phase (called
the snow goose), and a dark phase (called the blue goose).
Though they may look different, they are both the same species,
lesser snow goose.
- Breeding Area - Hudson Bay in Canada.
- Breeding Habitat - Grassy tundra areas near large bodies of
- Average Clutch Size - 5 eggs
- Incubation - 23 days
- Average Nest Success - 85-90%
- Adult Survival - 70-75%
- Wintering Areas - Primarily agricultural areas of Arkansas,
Louisiana, and Texas
- Food Habits - Roots of bulrushes, cordgrass, cattails, and