After spending a wonderful 6 weeks in Grand Teton National Park, I am back in Iowa. As I venture out to the local lakes and wetlands, it seems Canada Geese are everywhere. They are already selecting and defending their nesting territories.
The subspecies of geese that nest in Iowa are known as the Giant Canada Geese. While quite plentiful now, it wasn’t that many years ago that this subspecies was extirpated from Iowa. By the 1930s, it was rare to find this goose across the lower 48 states. In fact, many people thought it was extinct. The primary reasons were unregulated subsistence hunting, egg gathering, and destruction of habitat. Fortunately, in the early 1900s, multiple Midwest game breeders had trapped and penned up some of these wild geese.
In 1964, the Iowa Conservation Commission (now known as the Iowa Department of Natural Resources) began a restoration program at Ingham Lake Wildlife Management Area in Emmet County. The first 16 pairs of geese came from the penned up wild flocks. In subsequent years, many more restoration programs across Iowa laid the groundwork for the successful comeback of the Giant Canada Goose.
Now, 56 years later, it seems like you can find a pair on just about any water body, regardless of size.
Interesting tidbit: While frequently called the Canadian Goose, the correct name is Canada Goose.