Interesting Fact: Some migratory populations of the Canada Goose are not going as far south in the winter as they used to. This northward range shift has been attributed to changes in farm practices that makes waste grain more available in fall and winter, as well as changes in hunting pressure and changes in weather. ( https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Canada_Goose/lifehistory )
Interesting Fact: Young greylags stay with their parents as a family group, migrating with them in a larger flock, and only dispersing when the adults drive them away from their newly established breeding territory the following year. At least in Europe, patterns of migration are well understood and follow traditional routes with known staging sites and wintering sites. The young learn these locations from their parents which normally stay together for life. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greylag_goose#Behaviour )
Interesting Fact: Greylag geese are gregarious birds and form flocks. This has the advantage for the birds that the vigilance of some individuals in the group allows the rest to feed without having to constantly be alert to the approach of predators. After the eggs hatch, some grouping of families occur, enabling the geese to defend their young by their joint actions, such as mobbing or attacking predators. After driving off a predator, a gander will return to its mate and give a “triumph call”, a resonant honk followed by a low-pitched cackle, uttered with neck extended forward parallel with the ground. The mate and even unfledged young reciprocate in kind. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greylag_goose#Behaviour )
Interesting Fact: In spring and summer, geese concentrate their feeding on grasses and sedges, including skunk cabbage leaves and eelgrass. During fall and winter, they rely more on berries and seeds, including agricultural grains, and seem especially fond of blueberries. They’re very efficient at removing kernels from dry corn cobs. Two subspecies have adapted to urban environments and graze on domesticated grasses year round. ( https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Canada_Goose/lifehistory )
Interesting Fact: An abundant small goose of the ocean shores, the Brant breeds in the high Arctic tundra and winters along both coasts. The Brant along the Atlantic have light gray bellies, while those off the Pacific Coast have black bellies and were at one time considered a separate species. ( https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Brant/lifehistory )
Interesting Fact: At least 11 subspecies of Canada Goose have been recognized, although only a couple are distinctive. In general, the geese get smaller as you move northward, and darker as you go westward. The four smallest forms are now considered a different species: the Cackling Goose. ( https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Canada_Goose/lifehistory )
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Interesting Fact: The domestication, as Charles Darwin remarks (The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication i. 287), is of very ancient date, with archaeological evidence for domesticated geese in Egypt more than 4,000 years ago. They are much larger, and they have been selected for that larger size, with domesticated breeds weighing up to 10 kilograms (22 lb), compared to the maximum of 3.5 kilograms (7.7 lb) for the wild swan goose and 4.1 kilograms (9.0 lb) for the wild greylag goose. This affects their body structure; whereas wild geese have a horizontal posture and slim rear end, domesticated geese lay down large fat deposits toward the tail end, giving a fat rear and forcing the bird into a more upright posture. Although their heavy weight affects their ability to fly, most breeds of domestic geese are capable of flight. ( https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestic_goose )
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Interesting Fact: In Europe, northern Africa, and western Asia, the original domesticated geese are derived from the greylag gooseAnser anser. In eastern Asia, the original domesticated geese are derived from the swan gooseAnser cygnoides; these are commonly known as Chinese geese. Both have been widely introduced in more recent times, and modern flocks in both areas (and elsewhere, such as Australia and North America) may consist of either species, and/or hybrids between them. Chinese geese may be readily distinguished from European geese by the large knob at the base of the bill, though hybrids may exhibit every degree of variation between them. ( https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestic_goose )
Interesting Fact: It used to be a strictly coastal bird in winter, seldom leaving tidal estuaries, where it feeds on eel-grass (Zostera marina) and the seaweed, sea lettuce (Ulva). On the east coast of North America, the inclusion of sea lettuce is a recent change to their diet, brought about by a blight on eelgrass in 1931. This resulted in the near-extirpation of the brant. The few that survived changed their diet to include sea lettuce until the eelgrass eventually began to return. Brants have maintained this diet ever since as a survival strategy. In recent decades, it has started using agricultural land a short distance inland, feeding extensively on grass and winter-sown cereals. This may be behavior learned by following other species of geese. Food resource pressure may also be important in forcing this change, as the world population has risen over 10-fold to 400,000-500,000 by the mid-1980s, possibly reaching the carrying capacity of the estuaries. In the breeding season, it uses low-lying wet coastal tundra for both breeding and feeding. The nest is bowl-shaped, lined with grass and down, in an elevated location, often in a small pond. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brant_(goose) )