Jockeying for position under mom’s tail-feather umbrella, these goslings are likely weathering their first storm at just a few days old. When the goslings are born they are bright yellow with a dark beak, looking more like baby ducks. They are able to swim as soon as they are born and the adults will lead them to safety in open waters. As the weeks pass, their yellow down darkens and changes to gray. By nine weeks old their plumage has significantly changed and their flight feathers have grown in, and they begin to look more like adult birds with a jet-black head and neck, white cheeks and chinstrap, tan breast, and brown back. Interestingly, the adult molt (when a bird loses it’s flight feathers) takes place during the summer and lasts for about 25-40 days. The adults regrow their flight feathers are about the same time the goslings grow theirs.
Next spring, the geese will migrate to the same area they were born and the young ones will join flocks with other young geese. They will begin to reproduce when they are two or three years old. In a healthy environment Canada Geese can live for twenty-five years.