A Gaggle of Geese

It’s a flock (a group of geese), it’s a gaggle (geese on the ground or in a body of water), it’s a skein (geese flying in the air).

I don’t know what it is about geese but I love them. I’m not particularly fond of them when they are chasing me and the kids at the park but when they are flying through the air, it’s my favorite! My kids usually groan when I make them stop and listen to the geese flying over our house every fall. They think I’m such a nerd. Who knows, maybe someday the sounds of geese will bring them back to their childhood and their silly mom … maybe they will even like it.


Geese fly in the shape of a V each fall as they migrate for the winter. It is a very intelligent pattern as it preserves energy as each bird flies slightly above the bird in front of them creating an air foil (less wind resistance) making it easier to stay in flight. When a lead bird tires it can drop back and follow the lead of another which means the birds can fly for much longer without needing a rest. These intelligent birds honk at each other as they coordinate their flight.

Amazingly Canadian geese can fly upwards of 40 miles per hour. If they have a strong tailwind, they can reach speeds of nearly 70 miles per hour. On a good day, they can travel up to 1,500 miles. Their entire journey is between 2,000 to 3,000 miles. One of the sure fire ways to know that fall is on its way is to see a skein of geese, beautifully flying in a V shape overhead, or watching as they alight on a field or lake. It is incredibly graceful.

Baby geese hatch after 25-30 days of incubation (That would be nice, huh ladies?). Baby geese are called goslings and they can walk, swim and feed within 24 hours. Both parents, especially the male, protect their goslings until they are ready to fly. A gosling learns to fly around 10 weeks old. They will stay together until their offspring are about 1 year old.

Have you ever wondered how birds know which way to travel while they are migrating? There are a few theories… One is by the position of the stars and another is by earth’s north and south magnetic poles and somehow the birds can sense the magnetic field of the earth. Some birds, like pigeons, have an area in their brain made of magnetite that works as a built-in compass. Whatever the correct theory, it is always a sight. This fall as you see those beautiful V’s flying overhead hopefully you will have a new found appreciation for the intelligent birds that create them.

Curious about Geese?

Flying in a V fomration preserves energy of the flock.

Canadian Geese can fly 40 miles per hour

Baby geese hatch after only 25-30 days of incubation and can walk and swim after 24 hours!

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