April 14, 2015

"Honkers"

Geese mate for life.  They do so in the second year of their lives. They will mate again if their partner dies.  They are very loyal and will stay with an injured partner until it dies even if the larger group migrates. Their range is from Manitoba to Kentucky.

They remain in flocks most of the year.  The only time they split from their flock is to mate. Geese can fly a long distance when migrating.  They have been measured flying 1,500 miles in just 24 hour.

Canada Geese are large birds and stand 20 to 50 inches long with a wingspan of 50-68 inches. Adult female Canada geese average about 11 pounds. Adult males average about 12 pounds. There have been up to 16 pound birds harvested in the Midwest. Geese are herbivores. Their lifespan is 10-25 years.

The female picks the nest site and builds the nest.  Nests are typical near water on a slightly raised area  Each egg takes a little over a day to lay. The females lays typically 5-12 eggs.  The gestation period is 28 to 30 days. Both the female and male protect the eggs and the young.  If their eggs are destroyed by high water or predators the goose will re-nest close to the original nest site and lay more eggs.  The photo of the nest was taken today.

Geese have some natural enemies.  Eagles and hawks are know to eat goslings.  Humans are their most well known natural enemy.  Swans and geese hate one another. Goslings are able to walk and swim within 24 hours of birth.  They are sometimes eaten by pike and muskies when little. Goslings will dive underwater to avoid predators. At nine to ten weeks old they have all of their needed plumage to fly.

Geese find golf courses to be prime nesting areas.  They have run ins with golfers quite often.  The geese can be ferocious guardians of their nests. Goose scat can be a serious problem on a golf course. 

 Their nests are found on trout streams often in Wisconsin. The female bird will challenge anglers and sometimes enter the water and fake an injury to attract anglers and predators away from the nest.  The nest is big but not deep.  It is lined with small sticks and pin feathers. 


Geese fly in the famous V pattern when returning north or flying south for the winter.  The migration patterns have fluctuated lately and some geese just don't bother migrating if they have found a suitable home base.

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