Goose, a highly social swimming bird, is a member of the kinfolk named Anserini from the Anatidae family. Brant, Anser, and Chen are three genera of true geese. The term ‘Goose’ is used for the female bird, ‘Gander’ for the male and ‘Gosling for the young ones. Geese can also be categorized as the wild or the domestic. The most popular of the wild geese are Branta Canadensis maxima (giant Canadian geese), and the domestic class includes Asian geese, African geese, and the European geese descended from the greylag group. Swans and ducks likewise belong to the same family.
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Having the length of 21.7 inches to 43.3 inches and the weight about 20 to 25 pounds, geese can be differentiated from other animals of the same family by their long neck and non-kaleidoscopic colouration. The body color of geese varies between gray, black and white, depending on the species they belong to. Having the legs and bills of orange, pink or red colour, Emperor, Bar-Headed, Greylag, Bean, Pink-Footed, Snow, Ross, White-Fronted and Swan Goose are the answer (the grey geese) while Barnacle, Canadian population (Branta Canadensis), Nene or Hawaiian and Red-Breasted are brand (black geese) having the bill of black colour.
Habitat and Behavior
Despite being swimming birds, most of their time is spent on lands when they forage and graze. They love to be at the places enriched with the grass such as playgrounds, green lawns, and another short grassland near a watery place. Lakes, rivers, marshes, and swamps are likewise the places where they can be found. They build their nests at the places near water. Their affiliation with the birth place is very strong; they can come back and recognize the place where they once lived. Migratory geese do not vacillate to travel more than a thousand miles just to be at their birth site.
They make a beautiful scene when flying in V formation. Immediate follower goose can replace the leader when he feels. Geese display caring behavior for the other members of the group and beautifully coordinate their flight. Their caring nature does not allow them to leave any injured member behind. They remain with the injured until he can join the group or gaggle again. A goose honks to show certain behaviors, for instance, when they are attacked.
Geese are omnivores as they feed on a variety of foods. Green vegetation, water plants, barley, wheat, corn, rice, and blueberries are on the top of the list. Worms, hamsters, snail, slugs are also the options they occasionally prey on.
Geese take three years to get mature enough to mate. They remain loyal to their partner for the whole life and do not mate with any other goose until one of them dies. Geese return to their homes where they were born to mate and nest. Female geese lay 4- 6 eggs in one breeding season and the brooding geese incubate the eggs for 28 to 30 days. Parent geese leave no stone unturned to keep their babies safe. Father geese will remain around the nest to keep a check on safety from predators when mother geese leave the nest.
Two to three months old Gosling starts flying but stays with their parents. Adult geese will guard their children until their maturity. At the age of 2, geese are ready to build their nests, and at the age of 3, they are mature enough to mate.
Goose feathers are replaced once a year, usually during summer. During the molt, geese lose their ability to fly and try to be near water to get themselves saved from the predators. It takes them 40 to 45 days to be able to fly again.
The time from March to May is the best for geese to nest. Extremely dedicated partners seem to be in pairs during nesting season and show their ownership on the nests by safeguarding that place. Intense care of parent geese for their babies is the reason that they can survive for years.
Geese are either migratory or resident. Migratory geese can fly up to 2 to 3 thousand miles. Resident geese often join the migratory geese in flight but do not migrate. Migration period comes to rest when the mating season starts, and these birds undergo the process of molting.
15 Fun Facts about Geese
- A gaggle (a group of geese) is called a skein or a wedge when it is in flight.
- Geese with short necks and round bodies are the European geese descendants of wild greylag geese, and those have slender necks are African and Chinese geese, descendants of swan geese.
- Geese are the oldest type of poultry, the people of Egypt used to domesticate about 3000 years ago.
- Geese get deeply affiliated with the person who domesticates them, feeds them and takes care of them and remain loyal and dedicated.
- The size and shape of the geese depend on their type. For instance, Chinese goose weighs only 10 pounds. On the other hand, Embden and Toulouse are found having the weight of about 30 pounds.
- These highly social animals can make out with the other livestock and fowl if they are domesticated with them.
- Farmyard Geese can have 3 or 4 mates at one time, despite their popularity for being monogamous.
- They are aggressive towards humans and can attack them if they feel threatened.
- The geese’ tongue and the inner part of the bill are serrated and look like teeth which are used to cut through the twigs
- People also used them for the purpose of guarding due to the caring nature and their ability to make a loud honking noise when they have instincts of a threat.
- Geese also have historical significance as they were popular game birds and their feathers were used to stuff the handmade golf balls.
- Goose eggs can be incubated by chicken or duck mothers if the broody goose is not available.
- When it is the season of commercial agriculture, goose farmers take advantage of the geese being a weeder and add-on their income by providing their flocks to cotton farms where they use them as a chemical-free weeding.
- A Gosling does not have to be mature to swim and dive. He can do that on the very next day he comes out of the egg.
- The male geese will fight until their last breath for their females to be safe from danger.
Damages Caused by Goose
Being the waterfowl species their presence near water is abundant. They make the water filthy through their feces. Not only the water places but also the areas used by people such as golf courses, spots fields, parks, and lawn are misused by geese. Their feces in water or on the ground can lead to illness in humans as well as aquatic animals. Furthermore, they have a detrimental effect on crops, grasslands and lawns cannot be overlooked. They can totally ruin the crops and your beautiful garden areas by eating on the grass and plants. They can also attack humans as a repulsive action.
Three Ways to Effectively Control Goose
You can always control these birds by taking necessary measures. Some of the easy and effective ways are discussed below;
1. Changing the Habitat
Finding a goose around means there is something that attracts him; it can be food and perfect residing place. Indicate the items they come for and remove them and do not feed them. Make your property inhospitable for them. Tall grass is not so attractive for them so let the grass grow long. Have a look on the vegetation along water edges, replace them with the vegetation that is not liked by geese.
2. Scare Them Away
Foxes, owls, snapping turtles, raccoons and dogs are predators of geese. They will never want near them. A dog can be trained to herd the geese, or you can always get silent predators, made of rubber and fix them in your garden.
3. Stabilizing Flock Growth
You can stabilize the flock growth by putting up decoys to hunt or preventing the nest. The eggs can be destroyed to stop their growth, or you can hunt them by the state law. In some states, harassment by people to these noisy birds is illegal.
These friendly birds are popular for their caring and loving behaviors and passionate affiliation with their family and other partners of the group which makes them distinctive from other birds. These birds are also served as traditional Christmas bird. Although these birds are protected under wildlife protection programs, people hunt them as they cause nuisance and damage the property. They can be driven away by taking several measures or contacting the bird control professionals.