legs of the goose are scaly. Its foot consists of four clawed toes,
connected by flaps of skin. Their webbed feet make geese excellent
goose possesses a special gland called the uropygial gland, at the base of
its tail, which produces an oily substance the goose uses to smooth or
preen and waterproof its feather.
mentioned earlier, geese are migratory birds flying north in spring and
south in fall. They often fly in V-shaped formations. There are various
arguments as to why this formation is preferred. According to one, it is
believed that the air currents created by the birds flying in the front of
the formation make flying easier for the others while according to yet
another, the bird in the front is simply the leader who guides the others.
Early spring marks the
beginning of the breeding season. Both parents together select a nesting
place on the ground, soon after which the female begins building the nest
with twigs, grass and weeds, securing it with down.
female bird lays not more than one egg a day and several eggs in one
clutch. She incubates the eggs almost continuously, frequently turning
them with her bill. The chicks hatch after an incubation period of about
twenty eight to thirty days.
Each chick has a sharp
bump called an egg tooth near the tip of its bill with the help of which
it breaks through the shell. This tooth gradually falls off after the
goslings are covered with fine down and are capable of hunting as soon as
they hatch. They learn to swim a few days after they hatch. They develop
strong feathers and begin flying within two months.
geese indulge in parental care for up to almost a year after their young
hatch. They stay together in a flock and feed on water plants, grass, corn
and wheat in order to prepare themselves for the long flight as winter
enemies of geese include foxes, wolves and coyotes. Young goslings often
fall prey to gulls and other sea birds. Geese defend themselves by
hissing, biting or striking with their wings. On an average though, geese
have long lives, living up to about thirty years in captivity.