The Canada goose, with its black head, white cheeks, and large, sturdy body, is prevalent in many parts of North America, including Alberta. They can be found in an array of habitats, from natural wetlands to urban ponds and parks. These geese are highly adaptable, and while they migrate south during the winter, many populations have started becoming non-migratory, especially those in milder urban areas. They are often considered to be overly aggressive, especially during the breeding season, which has earned them the amusing nickname "cobra chicken."
For Indigenous communities in Alberta and throughout Canada, the Canada goose has been a valuable source of sustenance and has held symbolic significance. The bird's migratory patterns, which herald the changing seasons, are integral to various cultural narratives and ceremonies. As European settlers arrived, the goose continued to play a vital role in providing sustenance, and its presence was integrated into the evolving cultural landscape. Over time, with changing ecosystems and urbanization, the perception of the Canada goose has varied, with them being both cherished symbols of nature and, at times, considered nuisances in urban settings.
Culinary enthusiasts often appreciate the rich, gamey flavour of Canada goose meat. Unlike the milder taste of farmed poultry, wild goose offers a robust flavour profile. In Alberta, goose can be roasted whole, often accompanied by herbs and fruits that complement its gamey taste. The breast meat, lean and flavourful, can be pan-seared, similar to a steak, or thinly sliced for use in sandwiches and salads. Slow-cooking methods like braising or stewing can tenderize tougher cuts and incorporate rich gravies or sauces. Indigenous communities have traditionally smoked or dried goose for preservation, and such preparations continue to be cherished delicacies.