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Geese Facts

When I was growing up, I would see geese almost every day. They would migrate through my home town. During the busiest part of their migration, whole fields and lakes would be full of geese. You could practically hear them honking all over town! 

I was curious about these large birds that would take over my town for part of the year, so I researched these facts about geese. 

Here’s what makes these exciting birds so unique and interesting! 

Let’s Get to Know Geese 

Geese are part of a family of large semi-aquatic birds. They are capable of flying for long distances and migrate south in the wintertime. You can find species of geese all over the world, but the majority of geese species live in North America. 

Let’s take a closer look at some fun geese facts!  

Geese Facts for Kids

  • Were first domesticated around 3,000 BCE
  • Branta canadensis maxima are the largest Goose in the world
  • Geese can fly at speeds of 30-miles per hour
  • Swans and geese are close relatives 
  • Geese can migrate in groups of up to 100 geese
  • A prehistoric goose was over 1 and a half meters tall! 
  • Geese prefer to migrate during the night 
  • Federal Law in the United States protects Canadian Geese from harm

What do You Call a Group of Geese and Other Fun Goose Words

You probably already know that Goose refers to one individual bird, and geese is used as the plural, but what about these other fun geese terms? 

Technically speaking, a “goose” is the term for a singular female bird, while “gander refers to a lone male. Young geese get a few different names depending on how old they are. The youngest geese are called goslings, while young geese who are ready to take flight are known as fledglings. 

What about a group of geese? This is where things get a little more complicated. A group of geese is called a gaggle, but only when they are on the ground. Once they take flight, they can be called a skein, a wedge, or a team. Now that’s teamwork! Geese who are flying close together in a group are known as a “plump.” 

Goslings and the Goose Life Cycle

Geese have a life cycle that should be familiar to any fan of birds. A goose will lay her eggs sometime between March and June. A nest typically has around 10 eggs. The Goose will keep the eggs warm while the gander guards the nest and keeps a lookout for danger. Geese typically learn to fly within 70 days of hatching. These geese then go on to join their own gander. Geese typically mate for life. 

What Does a Goose Have for Lunch?

Geese are omnivores. This means that they can eat both plants and animals. With that said, your average Goose is more of an herbivore than a carnivore. Geese have a diet that allows them to forage for a variety of foods while they migrate across the continent. This includes seeds, berries, and grains. You can see geese poking around for food with their beaks in the grass as well as in the water. Geese can also eat insects, muscles, and even fish! This is less common and typically occurs when the opportunity arises rather than out of preference. 

Can a Goose be a Good Pet?

We get this question all the time! 

It’s not uncommon for people to want to keep a goose as a pet. In fact, many people do have pet geese. However, a goose is not the same kind of pet as your dog and requires much more specialized care. 

The veterinary doctors at Texas A&M University say that the best breeds of geese to keep as pets are the Toulouse, the American Buff, and the Pilgrim. These breeds of geese are friendly and do better in captivity than others like the wild and free-spirited Canadian Goose. Keep in mind that a goose can live for up to 30 years! 

Geese are outdoor animals and need a lot of space to lead a happy life. You would need a grassy outdoor enclosure as well as a pond for them to swim in! Not to mention, in order to recreate the natural habitat that geese do best in, you would need to get at least three pet geese! 

This is maybe a little bit more responsibility than having a pet goldfish! 

How do Geese Communicate? 

Geese have a variety of ways of communicating.

The one you’ve probably heard is honking! Geese honk in order to communicate with each other about dangers or changes in their surroundings. Ganders typically do the honking while female geese have a higher-pitched sound. Geese can also hiss when threatened or protecting their nest. If you ever hear a goose hissing, the safest thing to do is to back away slowly and leave the area. It’s just the Goose’s way of keeping its family safe! 

Are Geese Dinosaurs? 

The next time you see a goose, you might be a little closer to a living dinosaur than you think!

Geese, just like all birds, can trace their evolutionary history back to a type of dinosaur known as theropods. These dinos lived in the Triassic period and are the earliest relatives of today’s geese.

While they might be a little smaller than the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, they are certainly their closest living relatives! 

If a Goose Gets Loose Can it be Dangerous? 

A goose will only become aggressive if it is protecting its nest. This can get tricky for people when a goose makes its nest in a park or our backyard. We also have a hard time spotting their well-hidden nests. Geese typically don’t injure humans, but they can give us quite a shock if we get too close to their home. 

Geese are mostly harmless to us humans. In fact, we are usually a threat to them. 

Are Geese an Endangered Species? 

Humans have had a devastating impact on geese in our environments. From habitat destruction to pollution, we have disrupted geese populations all over the world. 

The common Canadian Goose was once endangered due to human activity. When fur traders first showed up in North America, they used foxes as a way to hunt animals for fur. These foxes were what scientists call an invasive species. This means that they didn’t have any natural predators and could have a dangerous impact on the local environment. 

The population of Canadian Geese was hit the hardest, and this once common bird became a rare sight. Thanks to conservation efforts, the Canadian Goose is now officially listed as a “stable” species. 

The next time you see this impressive bird flying overhead, thank the researchers and conservationists that helped protect it. 

Can a Goose Become a Great Artist? 

Yes! Well, sort of.

Geese don’t make art themselves, but humans have been inspired by these cool avian creatures for hundreds of years. 

Geese have shown up in movies, paintings, and stories throughout human history. You’ve probably even heard a few of these, like the old folk story about the Goose who laid the golden egg.

Geese have been a central part of human culture for thousands of years. It’s no wonder that we would tell stories about them and work them into our mythology and our lives. 

Geese have even shown up in religions across the world. The ancient Egyptian god Geb was often depicted with a goose. The Celtic peoples used geese in depictions of war. This could be because geese are so watchful and protective of their nests. Celtic peoples would often depict gods of war with geese as companions! It turns out that geese are pretty tough! 

Just How Smart is a Goose, Anyway? 

Birds are far smarter than most people give them credit for. 

You’ve probably heard of how corvids, that is, crows and ravens, can use tools, solve puzzles, and even talk with each other, but don’t count geese out of the equation just yet! 

According to Psychology Today, geese can use their smarts to live in major human cities. Geese have an uncanny ability to learn the rhythm of city life just like people can. They have used this ability to dodge human hunters by staying in cities instead of forested areas. 

What Type of Geese Live in Your Hometown? 

We can find geese all over the world. From China all the way to Midwest cities like Chicago, you can find geese leaving their impact on human society. What kind of geese live in your community?