Taking a Gander at mating Canada Geese

Canada Geese matingCanada Geese mating – Nikon D300, tripod mounted, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 500, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Officially it isn’t spring yet but the Canada Geese here in the Salt Lake Valley don’t seem to be paying much attention to our human calendars at all and have begun their mating season. A few days ago at a pond near where I live the Mallards and the Canada Geese were pairing up and mating. Canada Geese may be common but I don’t like to pass on taking images of common birds. After all what is common for our locations aren’t common at all in other parts of the world.

The image above shows the gander mating with the female while he has a firm grasp on some of the feathers on the female’s neck.

Copulation CompleteCopulation Complete – Nikon D300, tripod mounted, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 500, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

The whole mating process only took a few seconds which is probably good for the female since she was completely submerged at times. In the image above there feathers are still ruffled where the male has grasped the female’s neck and the gander’s bill still has some of her feathers in it.

Canada Goose ganderCanada Goose gander – Nikon D300, tripod mounted, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 500, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

The female Canada Goose bathed in a deeper section of the pond while the male paddled over to the shore, splashed for a bit then stood up and flapped his wings near a Common Coot that was preening on the edge of the pond. Yes, it sure looks like spring has sprung in this section of Utah.

But winter isn’t quite over yet and like these Canada Geese winter often ignores the human calendar and there may still be more snow on the way before the warmth of spring settles into the valley.


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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. I once saw a pair of Black Swans mating and it’s one of the most beautiful spectacles I’ve seen in my life. These swans were captive, but even so they go through the same rituals as if they were in the wild. They have this biological clock within them. The image of the geese reminded me of that.

  2. Jane Chesebrough

    great captures, Mia. Look at that guy, showing off.

  3. Thanks, MIa..I hope I fixed my email…. As I said before about the mating ducks…once again, it’s the female that really gets screwed!

  4. Lovely images, as always. And your common birds would indeed be exotic here.

  5. They looks very happy, beautiful pictures :)

  6. The key is to see our common birds in a whole new light with fresh eyes. This does it, Mia! :-)

    I follow a group in the UK on Twitter who reports unusual birds in their area. They went on and on for weeks about a Ring-billed Gull that was found there! Just goes to show, one area’s “common” is another area’s “rare.” :-)

  7. Do most of water fowl mate in the water? It’s probably safer for them there…less vulnerable.

  8. Nice shots, Mia. We still have winter up here in Montana. 0 degrees this morning.

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