Southern James Bay Canada Goose


Southern James Bay Canada geese arrive on the Pee Dee refuge in the fall after breeding in the Southern James Bay area of Canada. They rest in the moist soil units and green tree reservoirs and feed on grain in crop fields.

Canada geese are large waterfowl with long black necks, black heads, white chinstraps, light tan to cream breasts and brown backs, and a wide flat bill. They are 30 to 43 inches long, have wingspans of 50 to 67 inches, and weigh 6 to 20 pounds.

Southern James Bay Canada Geese nest in marshes on James Bay in Quebec and Ontario, Canada. They make their nests on the ground, usually on a muskrat mound or other slightly elevated site, near water. They prefer a spot from which they can have a fairly unobstructed view in many directions. The female selects the site and does much of nest construction. The nest is a large open cup made of dry grasses, lichens, mosses, and other plant material. She adds down feathers and some body feathers beginning after the second egg is laid. She does all the incubation while her mate guards her and the nest.

Canada geese lay 2 to 8 creamy white eggs that are 3 inches long and 2 inches wide. They incubate the eggs for 42 to 50 days. The hatchlings are covered with yellowish down and their eyes are open. They leave the nest when 1 to 2 days old, depending on weather, and can walk, swim, feed, and even dive. They have enough energy remaining in their yolk sac to survive 2 days before feeding.