Monday, 18 April 2011

Geese a-laying

Canada Geese are a common enough sight (and their honking a familiar noise!) throughout the British countryside, although, as their name suggests, they are native to North America. Around this time of year, Canada Geese in their second year of life will have found themselves a mate. In common with swans and many species of penguins, these animals are monogamous and will stay together throughout their lives.

The female lays somewhere between three and eight eggs, which she will incubate for three to four weeks. During this nesting time she loses her flight feathers, which re-grow in time to accompany her goslings on their maiden flight. The male remains close by.

Adult geese are very protective of their young, and can often be seen bookending their goslings in a line. Woe betide any nosy dog, human or other creature that stumbles too close; geese will stand erect, spread their wings and hiss wildly at anything they find threatening. Best to take several steps back as a goose has a nasty peck!

These pictures were taken by Martin, ranger at Deerpark, who is happy to explain more about Canada Geese and their behaviour.

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