The Truth About the Canada Goose

The Truth About the Canada Goose
1. Canada Geese are a common site around lakes, ponds and even golf courses. These birds often migrate in the fall, but isolated populations may reside year around.

2. Nesting begins in March and April, usually along a water body’s riparian zone. Geese can lay approximately three to six eggs in a clutch, and often abandon the nest within one to two days.

3. Geese can range in size from 22 to 48 inches from beak to feet and can weigh from three to 24 pounds. Large geese can have a wing span of six feet. The most identifying mark on Canada geese is the white cheek patch.  Male (gander) and female (goose) look similar, however, the male is slightly larger.

4. Canada geese are known for their V-shaped flying patterns and honking sound. Canada geese, are also called “honkers”.

5. When geese are flying in formation, you can often hear them calling to each other. Adult Canada geese have about 13 different calls, ranging from low clucks and murmurs communicated while feeding and loud greeting and alarm calls. Goslings even start to communicate with their parents while they’re still in the egg. A gosling can make a call, or peep, if it’s distressed or content.

6. Geese are not intentionally mean-spirited.They are wild animals and will act instinctively if they feel threatened.  By honking and hissing, they communicate with the rest of the flock,warning the others if there are predators nearby.
F-4 Phantoms in 'V' Formation
7. Canada geese normally migrate to southern agricultural areas for the winter. To do so, they fly in the distinct “V” pattern, where one goose is the leader and its flock follows behind in a v-shape. This helps the geese save energy when they migrate, benefit from the air currents passing the leader, permitting them to fly longer distances. The v-shape also allows for an easier coordination of the flock’s movements, such as a change in flight speed or direction. The formation lets these changes be communicated quickly and efficiently to all geese in the flock.

8. Canada geese nest in the same region their parents did, often in the same nest every year.

9. The geese can live upwards of 24 years and can weigh approximately 12 pounds.

10. One goose can consume up to four pounds of grass per day, creating about three pounds of fecal matter daily. One Canada Goose can produce up to 2 pounds of fecal waste a day.  When geese defecate near shore or in the water they create a health risk to humans.Their fecal material may contain the swimmers itch organism along with fecal bacteria.

11. There are 11 different subspecies of the Canada goose. The most distinguishing feature among these subspecies is size. The Giant Canada goose (Branta canadensis maxima) found in Indiana is the largest of these. It also has light-colored breast feathers, white ?ecks on the head, larger bill size and longer legs than other subspecies.

12. The average weight of the Giant Canada goose is about 12 pounds. Males are slightly larger than females.

13. Canada geese mate for life. If one partner dies, a new pair bond is usually established.

14. The female incubates the eggs for 25-30 days, then both the male and female care for the goslings.

15. Goslings are usually capable of ?ight about 71 days after hatching.

16. To goose someone means to poke them. Goose egg means a zero score.

17. When European settlers came to the New World, they brought with them knowledge of both tame and wild geese from their native lands. It was natural for them to add North American geese to their food supply.

18. In addition to providing food, goose feathers were used to make beds and goose grease was a valuable substance. It was used for both cooking and for medical uses. For example, it was blended with turpentine and rubbed on the chest to ease coughs and colds. It was also thought that it helped relieve earaches and soothe rheumatism.

19. Folklore tells us that when the meat on the goose’s breast bone was thick, it meant a cold winter was on the way. The saying “All is well and the goose hangs high,” meant when the geese were flying high in the sky the weather would be good. The Native Americans thought that a harsh winter would be coming if the geese flew south in early August.

20. When a goose gets sick, wounded or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it.  They stay until it dies or can fly again.  Then they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock.


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