It is not clear exactly how long the average Canada goose can live, but there have been two geese that were reported to have lived very long lives. One of them lived to be 24 years old and another reached 23. In captivity, two geese were reported to live to 42 years old. Probably most Canada geese die within their first year of life, as nestlings, fledglings, and during their first migration.
Canada goose populations represent a successful wildlife protection program that revived dwindling numbers in the beginning of the 20th century. The birds were guarded by law and even reintroduced in some areas where their numbers had become low. Today the geese are a popular game bird, and some management concerns center on keeping populations in check because of their detrimental effect on crops.
The Canada Goose was one of the many species described by Linnaeus in his 18th-century work Systema Naturae. It belongs to the Branta genus of geese, which contains species with largely black plumage, distinguishing them from the grey species of the Anser genus. The specific epithet canadensis is a New Latin word meaning from Canada . According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first citation for the 'Canada Goose' dates back to 1772. The Cackling Goose was formerly considered to be a set of subspecies of the Canada Goose. The Canada Goose is also referred to as the Canadian Goose.
The Cackling Goose was originally considered to be the same species or a subspecies of the Canada Goose, but in July 2004 the American Ornithologists' Union's Committee on Classification and Nomenclature split the two into two species, making Cackling Goose into a full species with the scientific name Branta hutchinsii. The British Ornithologists' Union followed suit in June 2005.