Goose Facts

September to January

Canada geese congregate in flocks and fly from lake to lake to feed. During cold winter months, the Missouri goose population triples with the arrival of migratory groups from the north.


Migratory flocks begin flying north. Resident geese begin nesting behavior. Male and female breeding pairs separate from the flock. Juvenile geese (one- and two-year-olds) remain in small groups and donʼt breed.  

Property owners should register with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in preparation for spring nesting on their property. You can use the link at

What are Canada Geese doing in Missouri?

The name “Canada geese” is misleading. The subspecies of Canada geese (Branta canadensis maxima) that live in Missouri year-round are resident geese, descendants of geese living in the Midwest for centuries! They nested on the bluffs and lived in the riversʼ wetlands, and even Lewis and Clark recorded their presence along the Missouri River. During winter months their northern smaller relatives migrate to Missouri, seeking open water and food and return north in the spring.

Why are Canada Geese attracted to our communities?

As the geeseʼs natural wetland habitat has been reduced and suburbs have expanded, geese have moved to the suburbs' ideal living conditions. Geese seek:

Food source: Mowed grass creates a goose buffet!

Body of water: Man-made lakes are most inviting providing safety and a place to raise offspring.

Sense of safety: Geese prefer large open areas with a 360-degree view of potential predators.  Many lakes have no tall vegetation surrounding them and provide geese a clear line of sight to safety in the lake.

What Happens When

Mid-June to Mid-August

Having followed the GeesePeace program, Canada geese will have moved to more remote areas leaving urban sites conflict free of Canada goose problems.

Late August and Fall

The molt is over and geese are flying again and it is possible they may revisit your property.

Property owners may wish to resume periodic border collie patrols.

Mid-May to Early June

When nesting is over, geese search for a safe place for the summer molt, a location with plentiful food and a lake. The molt is a several week period when adult geese become flightless. Old feathers are dropped as new ones grow in.

Property owners bring in the team of trained border collies for a few weeks to patrol the lake. The border collies are perceived as predators and pursue the geese on land into the water. Geese do not want to become stranded where there are predators and so will leave the area.

March, April, to Early May

Nesting begins! A pair of geese will prepare a nest for six to seven eggs. The mother incubates the eggs and the father stands guard.

Property owners locate nests, test eggs for their stage of development, and follow GeesePeace protocol. If goslings – baby geese – have not formed, the eggs may be coated with corn oil to prevent development or replaced with wooden eggs. After three weeks, remove the oiled or wooden eggs and the goose’s reproductive cycle is over for the year.

Property owners should register with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in preparation for spring nesting on their property. You can use the link at

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GeesePeace St. Louis

PO Box 6246

Chesterfield, MO 63006-6246


GeesePeace St. Louis