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How to Tell the Difference Between Female & Male Canada Geese

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You don't have to be in the great white north to see Canada geese. These beautiful birds are plentiful in North America, ranging from the frigid Arctic to the temperate areas of North America. They adapt well to their environments, living in cities or suburbs and often inhabiting areas along rivers, ponds and lakes.

Ladies and Gentlemen

If you're trying to discern which geese hanging out around your park pond are male and female, you'll have to be observant. Male and female Canada geese are identical as far as markings go, sporting black heads and necks, white patches on their faces, light-colored chests and brownish-grey plumage. Unlike other birds, such as mallard ducks, the male Canada goose doesn't have distinctive, colorful plumage that separates him visually from the female. If you see a pair of geese together, chances are the bigger of the pair is the male; male Canadian geese tend to be about 10 percent larger than the females. On average, male Canada geese weigh between 7 and 14 pounds and females weigh between 5.5 and 12 pounds.

Watch and Listen

Listening to their calls may provide a clue; the male has a slower, low-pitched honk and the female makes a "hink" noise, higher-pitched and faster than the male's. If you come across geese in a nesting situation, the goose on the nest will be the female, tending to her eggs. Canadian geese mate for life, so if you see a lone goose, it may be the male, out on patrol to protect his nesting female partner, or it may be a goose in mourning. Without having a partner nearby for comparison, you won't know for sure if that goose is a he or she.