Don’t honk if you like geese

  • Fri Apr 25th, 2014 3:25pm
  • News

The Lake Crescent goose sits on her nest as highway traffic goes by.

Every spring, West End residents that travel around Lake Crescent look for the nesting goose. But what do you know about Canada geese?

Canada geese are very loyal and emotional toward each other, and have strong family values; a mate will put itself in danger to protect its partner and parents will place themselves in danger to protect their young.

If one of a mated pair or a family member is injured, a goose will go down with the injured goose and guard the injured goose until it recovers or dies.

It is during the nesting season that Canada geese get a reputation of being aggressive, although it is always the human approaching posing as a threat or predator that is at fault. Humans need to understand the behavior of wildlife such as a wild bird and not approach the nesting goose or the gander guarding his or her mate.

Goslings begin communicating with their parents while still in the egg. After hatching, there is an amazing change in the attitude of the gander. Where he would previously chase off any other geese in the area, he now becomes much more tolerant.

Sometimes, if there are other clutches of goslings in the area, they will often group together in flocks called “crèches” and be looked after by all the adults. Older, experienced geese will sometimes “kidnap” goslings from younger, inexperienced geese (if they see that the younger geese are not fit parents), and raise them with their young. The original parents will stay back and follow the group, but not be allowed to take their goslings back. Young geese have flight feathers at about 16 weeks old.

Canada geese are very family oriented, and have a very low divorce rate, usually mating for life.