Goose Bumps Game HomeLearnEducationAnimal AdaptationsGoose Bumps Game A Canada Goose family has made a nest on top of the remains of an old Beaver lodge. The female constructed a nest and laid her eggs. For the next month, she won't eat, drink, or bathe. All that matters is tending to her eggs and incubating them! After a month of waiting, her eggs have hatched. Goslings, young geese, will leave the nest within a day's time and begin learning what it takes to be a goose. You are currently nestled inside your mother's feathers to stay warm, but there are so many things to learn! Our adventure has begun as you will experience what it is like to be a Canada Goose. What do you want to do?* Follow Mom Join a Gosling Gang Narrowly escape death thanks to Dad Use your wings and fly You spend all your time with your parents. Following your parents exposes you to so many lessons that will prepare you for life as an adult. Right now, you are following Mom around a lake. These are big adventures for you since you spend so much of your time eating and sleeping. You and some of your cousins have been gathered together in a Gosling Gang. Canada Geese often do this as a co-parenting tactic. Multiple families will work together to look after the Goslings so parents can have the freedom to look for food without their children. When parents return with food, it is only shared with their children and not the wider group. This is a common tactic used by many species of birds! A Red Fox darts out from some bushes. You have never seen this animal before and stand still. Suddenly Dad rushes towards the fox honking and flapping his wings. Other male geese, even ones of different species, join your Dad and scare away the fox. Goslings and unhatched eggs are more at risk than adults from predators. Potential predators include raccoons, crows, bears, and many birds of prey. When Canada Geese are fully grown, their threatening displays keeps many animals away, but coyotes, wolves, eagles, and owls will still prey on this species. Remember, many geese have had negative experiences with humans and are often afraid of us. You have been growing so fast. You look like an adult now and have been working with your parents on learning how to fly. Your adult feathers have come in. Just two months ago, you were a newborn. Now you are taking to the sky. Momentum is with you and your have become so strong. You soar through the air and now have a new way to escape from predators. You are now a fully grown Canada Goose. You and the rest of your greater geese family will migrate when it becomes fall. You are a few months away from that journey, but in the meantime you need to get used to being an adult. Do you have what it takes to be an adult? What do you want to do?* Alert Others to Predators Nearby End Up in a Fight Hiss and Honk You make a distinct noise to alert the other geese that you have spotted some coyotes. All the geese react and go to the water where they can escape this animal. Scientists have identified that Canada Geese make twenty distinct noises. A new male enters into your territory. You two end up in a fight. At first this starts as just vocal calls back and forth, but things get heated! He charges you, but you counter and bite his tail feathers. You fan out your wings and the new male flees. You have successfully defended your territory! You find some blueberries. This is considered to be one of the greatest delicacies for Canada Geese. You start feasting on these and hear another goose walking behind you. You start hissing and honking. This is your food and you do not plan on sharing it with any other geese. The other geese gets the picture and leaves you alone to enjoy your treat. Fall is only a few weeks away and it is time to begin preparing for migrating. You and the other geese will leave your breeding grounds in Canada and head south to avoid a harsh winter. There is so much to do! What do you want to do?* Eat for Twelve Hours Socialize more than usual Use your feet...awkwardly You spend your days eating food. You and other Water Fowl eat so often because it takes a lot of food to get the nutrients you need. Even if you weren't preparing for migrating, you would still eat this often. The Canada Goose has lamellae which is a serrated rim on the bill that acts like teeth. This helps a goose bite off the food they want. Sometimes you are a tad shy compared to the other geese. With migration around the corner though, you start socializing more than you usually would. This is crucial as you congregate around food sources. You can't be as selfish as you usually would be. You dive underwater to look for food. You find a nice aquatic grass to nibble on. You do this many times with a few other geese. This is an atypical behavior. Due to Canada Geese having legs nears the end of their body, searching for food underwater isn't ideal. Ducks excel at this because their legs are centrally located. Scientists have noted this occurring many times. Geese will sometimes dive under the water to get away from territory disputes, but this is something new. However, like all Water Fowl, your feet are adapted for maneuvering through the water efficiently. The time is now. The Canada Geese are congregating and today is the day. This will be the first of many migrations for you! How exciting! What do you want to do?* Fly in a V Formation Stop at a Rest Stop Travel 1,500 Miles in 24 Hours Winter in the United States You find yourself close to the front of the V Formation. Through out the day multiple geese switch in and out of the lead spot. Mom and Dad even lead for a while. Scientists have noted that the V Formation may help birds save energy for these long journeys. It is speculated that this formation reduces drag and can even assist the other birds flying by providing drift. You and the flock fly through the night and rest during a gloomy morning. You all stop to eat and join up with another flock before heading out. During the Migration south, Canada Geese will fly during the day and at night. You and your flock get back to your migration. Flocks that migrate later in the year often spend more time resting. You can't believe the pace that you and the flock are keeping! Each day feels like a new adventure. Believe it or not, but your flock will travel at around 40 mph, but could get up to 70 mph with the right wind behind you! Geese will even fly a few thousand feet in the air and will even go as high as 8,000 feet! You and the flock make it down to the United States. You decide to winter in Richmond, Virginia. There is plenty of food and many waterways. Soon after landing, you immediately go find some food. You are famished. The local ducks are a little thrown off by the sudden arrival of you and your family. Canada Geese are seen everywhere, but somewhat misunderstood. Let's explore a few interesting topics that will help us better understand this bird! What topic do you want to explore?* Airplanes and Canada Geese Dwindling Numbers? No More Migrating Relationship with Humans The Canada Goose is considered by many various organizations as one of the most hazardous animals to aircraft. Many birds are hit by airplanes yearly which usually results in death for the animal. There are many preventive measures to minimize this, but it is a reality of any kind of transportation. Not only can this impact population numbers, but it can lead to disasters. The chance of this causing a crash is statistically rare. However, a famous case of US Airways Flight 1549 landing in the Hudson River occurred due to the plane hitting a flock of Canada Geese. At the beginning of the 20th Century, this bird had gone extinct in certain areas and had very low population numbers. Legislation was put into effect to protect this bird and their numbers have recovered and then some! Now new problems are leading to this bird being perceived as a nuisance. Does this mean the legislation should be changed or we need to find new solutions? Many hunters kept captive bred Canada Geese to act as lures and indicators of safety for birds that the hunters were actively hunting. When this was outlawed, these captive birds were released into the wild. However, after generations of being kept by humans, these birds had lost their migratory instincts. With global warming contributing to warmer temperatures, some pockets of Canada Geese in Canada aren't going as far south or opting out of even migrating. Overpopulation has even led to the establishment of breeding grounds in temperate zones where migration is no longer needed. As with any animal, the more we understand about an animal, the better relationship we can achieve. Throughout our adventure, we saw how territorial and protective this animal is. Would we chase an animal with those traits? Of course not! If we were going somewhere and had to wait for Canada Geese to cross the road, would we be mad or realize this animal is the descendant of an animal that was taken out of its home environment? As we better understand this animal and how the problems of the 21st Century are impacting it, scientists and conservationists will better understand what we can do to help this misunderstood animal. Let's all do our best to admire this bird from a safe distance and be respectful to its instincts! Congratulations! You have reached the end of our journey. Hopefully you have learned quite a bit about this often seen and misunderstood bird. Like all animals, there is so much to learn about and to respect about this amazing animal. What was your favorite thing that you learned today?The next time you see a Canada Goose, you are going to:What are some other animals that live in Virginia that you would like to learn about?