Monday, September 17, 2007

Have you ever been called 'a silly goose'? They are not so silly!

Any day now one of the most beautiful and stirring sights will appear in my skies, the departure of the . I love to watch them high above me and never miss their return or their departure every year. They pass down their migratory routes from generation to generation. There is something so poignant about their flight that brings tears to my eyes.

When you see geese flying along in "V" formation, you might consider what science has discovered as to why they fly that way. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in "V" formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own. When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone - and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front.

When the head goose gets tired, it rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point . Geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed and use as many as 13 different calls to convey warnings, extend greetings, and express emotions such as happiness.

When a goose gets sick or is wounded by gunshot, and falls out of formation, two other geese fall out with that goose and follow it down to lend help and protection. They stay with the fallen goose until it is able to fly or until it dies; and only then do they launch out on their own, or with another formation to catch up with their group.

When they travel, Canada Geese stay in family groups. The parents fly with the young of the year. If you watch a large flock of geese come in for a landing, you can often see the different family units peel off in smaller clusters before they alight.

Geese possess many of the qualities that humans strive to attain. Devoted to each other, goose couples mate for life, raise and protect their babies together, and take care of one another. Geese and their babies begin talking to each other while the goslings are still inside the egg. Goslings cuddle with each other for warmth and protection. Canada Geese are very emotional and mourn the loss of their mates and eggs.

Humans have a lot to learn from geese, they are not so silly after all.


david mcmahon said...

Dear Vic,

The principle of the V formation of migratory birds is explained in a special passage about human migration in my novel Vegemite Vindaloo.

As a lover of the Canadian landscape, I followed this post with great interest.

That special post devoted to you will be on my site in the next 10 hours - wiating for you tomorrow morning.



Clubbs said...

That V formation science is fascinating to me. Nature is filled with so much wonder.


Every, Every Minute

mrsnesbitt said...

As the proud mother of a goose, Jo I learn lots from observing him day by day! This piece of writing is a wonderful endearing glimpse into their life.

(My avator is indeed a painting I did of one of my geese, peggy, sadly no longer with us.)

Jeni said...

I knew that geese mated for life but didn't realize how totally family oriented they are -even with respect to the eggs, the siblings, etc. Very interesting to learn these things.

Shelby said...

I loved reading this!

Danielle Blogging for Balance said...

I didn't know that about them falling out of formation for the injured goose. We do have a lot to learn and I will now be honored to be called 'a silly goose' . ;)

Vic Grace said...

I am so glad you liked that post. I am always fascinated by wildlife.