Canada Goose – Success Story

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.

Because of its large size, the Giant Canada Goose was a favorite meal of early settlers. Sony a9 + 100-400mm lens & 1.4x teleconverter @ 560 mm, ISO 1250, f/8, 1/1600. ©Stanley Buman. All Rights Reserved

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.

An average Canada Goose nest will contain about 5 goslings. Of course, predators take their toll and only about 3 out of 5 goslings make it to maturity. Sony a9 + 100-400mm lens & 1.4x teleconverter @ 242 mm, ISO 800, f/8, 1/1600. ©Stanley Buman. All Rights Reserved.

Now, 56 years later, it seems like you can find a pair on just about any water body, regardless of size.

The Giant Canada Geese appear to be quite abundant, especially during migration. Sony a9 + 100-400mm lens & 1.4x teleconverter @ 274 mm, ISO 800, f/8, 1/2000. ©Stanley Buman. All Rights Reserved.

Interesting tidbit: While frequently called the Canadian Goose, the correct name is Canada Goose.

8 thoughts on “Canada Goose – Success Story”

  1. Hi Stan,
    I first learned about the Giant Canadian Geese at Springbrook State Park with my 6th graders. I learned so many things there about Iowa and her wildlife!
    Beautiful photos btw,

      1. I agree…so sad. What a wonderful experience for people of all ages it was. Maybe after all the isolation and teaching at home is over, the state will come to appreciate the education presented at our CECs. I think I’ll write to them again and encourage they take a second look at it.

        1. I did not have the opportunity to go to Springbrook as a student but attended several adult trainings there. I did get to go over to Prairie Rose State Park while in grade school and remember it well. The outdoor classroom and experience were awesome. You may never know the impact you had on your students by taking them to Springbrook.

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