You are here

Canada Goose

A common species of goose  introduced and now found in parks and waterside places throughout the county

Photograph by: 
Peter Orchard

This is a bird that is familiar in Dorset (and throughout the British Isles) now that has its origins elsewhere in the world and is now considered a 'bit of a pest'. Following its introduction in to collections in country parks and gardens during Victorian times the Canada goose (Branta canadensis) is now widespread on lakes, ponds and other waterside locations.

A handsome bird, the Canada goose is, as its name suggests, a North American species where there are several variable races. The one we are familiar with here is the pale Atlantic coast variety. In their native environment they are very migratory along the Atlantic coast of North America. In this country the population seems less mobile although they can still make a pretty impressive sight when thirty or more form a 'V' shaped skein and fly over our house and up the Frome Valley in the early autumn making a wonderfully evocative 'honking' call as they go.

As I say, like many imported species, they can be a bit of a pest and they certainly make a real mess with their droppings. They can also be a bit aggressive if they feel threatened which makes them a problem in public parks. In places steps are being taken to control their numbers now. 

If you want to see Canada geese then Poole Park will almost guarantee close views of them. 


Canada Goose: a long way from home

Common Name Canada Goose
Scientific Name Branta canadensis
Species Group Birds Geese
Status Feral
Interest Level
  • 01 - January
  • 02 - February
  • 03 - March
  • 04 - April
  • 05 - May
  • 06 - June
  • 07 - July
  • 08 - August
  • 09 - September
  • 10 - October
  • 11 - November
  • 12 - December
Look for

The bold white chin strap under the bill

Identification Notes
  • Introduced to adorn country gardens in earlier times and now well established in the wild around large lakes and occasionally near the sea
  • Although they do not migrate they become restless in autumn and can be seen flying in a V formation honking loudly as they go
  • Larger than most of our native geese and of similar colouring in general but the large white chin strap is unique to this species  
Primary Habitat
Preferred Environment
Look for
Additional Identification Notes
Similar Species

The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Notebook Distribution Map Sites List Some Charts Some Photographs Recent Records Guidance Notes

To see related species click here: 

Birds Geese