CANADA GOOSE



listen to geese honking (45Kb wav)

FLIGHT

moulting

  • in summer adults moult (lose old flight feathers and grow new feathers)
  • new flight feathers grow in time for fall migration
  • cannot fly for 3 or 4 weeks during moulting

    how Canada Geese fly

  • parents teach the young to fly after new flight feathers have grown
  • usually run along the surface of the water or ground for takeoff
  • movement of wings : downstroke, pull forward, lift upwards, spread again
  • fly with strong and steady wingbeats
  • speed 50 to 90 km/hr (30 to 55 m/hr)
  • can travel more than 1000 km in a day (over 650 miles)


    ( photo by Don Poggensee / USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service)

    MIGRATION

    When snow falls and the lakes and rivers of the north freeze over, the geese are unable to swim or find food. The geese migrate to places where it is warmer and where food is available.

    Migrating birds usually follow the same path every year. These paths are called routes or flyways. The flyways used by the Canada Goose are : the Atlantic flyway (along the east coast of North America), the Mississippi flyway (named after the river), the Central flyway (along the Rocky Mountains) and the Pacific flyway (west of the Rockies).

    FALL MIGRATION

    • families gather together to form flocks
    • as days get shorter, the geese eat more to form a layer of body fat
    • migration begins in late August or early September (depending on how far north they are)
    • flock travels by day or night

    • fly in V-shape, often an irregular V-formation, sometimes in lines
    • flying in a V-shape requires less energy, birds can fly longer distances
    • it is easier for others to follow (birds can see what is ahead)
    • one of the larger, stronger birds is the leader
    • change leaders during flight to give lead bird a rest
    • flock lands to feed and rest at familiar places (marshes, farmers' fields)
    • when cloudy they may fly closer to the ground
    • Canada Geese spend the winter in southern Canada, the United States and Mexico.

    SPRING MIGRATION

    • leave at different times, depending how far north they are going
    • early migrators leave in late January, early February
    • fly northward following the melting snowline
    • stop often to feed and build up strength
    • nesting and egg-laying occurs as soon as geese arrive at nesting grounds

    DANGERS DURING MIGRATION

    • exhaustion - too tired from long flight and not enough rest
    • starvation - not enough food available
    • shot by hunters - hunters wait near fields and ponds where flocks of geese land to eat and rest
    • bad weather - strong winds, thick fog, snowstorms
    • flying into things - tv and phone towers, power lines, tall buildings
  • NEST-EGGS-GOSLINGS



    INTRODUCTION | DESCRIPTION | HABITAT | BEHAVIOR | NESTING | FOOD | ENEMIES | FLIGHT | OTHER FACTS


    url of this page is http://www.saskschools.ca/~gregory/animals/cg/cg8.html