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Friday, June 27, 2014

What Do Canada Geese Eat?

“What do Canada geese eat?” 

Canada geese are a common sight in Ohio, heralding the changing of the seasons. We often see them poking around in the grass, but none of us at the Newton Falls Public Library were exactly sure what it is they’re eating.

We went back to our extensive birding collection for the answers and found them in Birds of North America by Fred J. Alsop III, Birds of Lake, Pond, and Marsh by John Eastman, and Birds of Ohio by James S. McCormac and Gregory Kennedy.

All Canada geese are almost exclusively vegetarian, though according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlifethey've also been known to eat snails, insects, and tadpoles. Geese will graze on land, both on wild plants and on crops and stubble fields, and dip their heads underwater to enjoy aquatic plants. Their diet of choice includes cattail, bulrush, pondweed, grass, clover, alfalfa, corn, millet, barley, soybeans, oats, and wheat.

According to Ducks Unlimited Canada, they spend most of their time feeding – up to twelve hours a day! – and will eat even more before migrations. Females especially will eat more before the spring migration to ensure that they have enough energy to lay and then incubate their eggs.

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