Geese – Fine-Feathered Travelers
Geese are large birds of the waterfowl family, consisting of ducks, geese, and swans. Geese occur in many types of aquatic habitats, on all continents but Antarctica. They breed in freshwater marshes, salt marshes, or marsh-fringed, open-water wetlands. Common species of goose include the Canada goose, the greylag, the barnacle goose, and the snow goose.
They eat roots, rhizomes, and shoots of grass-like plants, and on seeds and grains.
Most species of goose undertake substantial migrations between their breeding and wintering grounds. Flocks of migrating geese commonly adopt a V-shaped formation. This formation helps keep them from getting tired as they fly because each goose gets a lift from the air flowing off the goose ahead.
Geese spend a lot of time in the water. Like ducks, they have a coat of oil on their feathers that keeps them from getting too wet. Their webbed feet make them strong swimmers. They are also powerful fliers.
A male goose is called a gander. Young geese are called goslings.
The Canada goose is also known as the “honker” because of its resonant call. Because of its abundance and widespread migrations, the Canada goose is probably the most familiar goose to most North Americans.
The snow goose is another abundant species of goose in North America.
Brant and black brant are less common species of goose, occurring in eastern and western North America. They prefer to forage vascular plants known as eelgrass.
The Hawaiian goose is uniquely colored. Its gray–brown feathers have white tips that form widely spaced bars on the bird’s back. The sides of its neck are reddish–brown with black and white markings. They are found on the island of Hawaii.
Pied goose lives in Australia.
Wild geese have long been hunted for subsistence purposes, and more recently for sport.
Two species of goose have been domesticated. The most commonly raised species is derived from the greylag goose of Eurasia and another is the swan goose. People have kept and bred geese for at least 4,000 years.
– People in Asia and Europe have kept geese as guards. Geese make loud honking cries when danger appears.
– Geese are monogamous.
– Domestic geese do not fly; the reason for this is in most cases the excessive weight of the bird, or frequent molts.
– Both domestic and wild geese equip nests with their own feathers and down.
– Geese are long-lived, in the wild they can live more than 25 years, and in captivity their age can reach 30 years.
– Goose is a sacred bird in many cultures. The monks of Tibet revered the goose as the incarnation of the god Shiva, and the ancient Egyptians believed that the ancestor of the modern goose put his paw to create world. The Romans believed that the goose was the beloved bird of Mars, the god of war. These birds saved Rome from the barbarians.