Often seen around ponds, rivers and lake shores throughout Hampton Roads, Canadian geese have adapted well to living in urban and suburban areas. Both male and females are large birds, 20 to 50 inches long with a wingspan of 50-68 inches. They are easily identified by their black head and neck with a white “chinstrap” which distinguishes them from all other goose species. Canadian geese mate for life. Females are diligent homemakers, tending the nest and caring for the eggs, while males stand by guarding the family and baby-sitting the eggs when Mom goes off to feed. In fall, as soon as the young are strong enough for the trip, they begin their migration south. They learn the migration routes from their parents and follow the same route used in subsequent years. Canadian Geese are well known for their V-shaped flight formation, during which the front position is rotated, since flying in front consumes the most energy. This species is protected in North America under the Migratory Bird Act of 1918, making it illegal to harm, take, or possess these migratory birds.