Geese Flying Above Trees

We enjoy the haunting call of geese on the wing.

One of nature’s most alluring sounds is the song of flying Canada geese. Years ago, one had to travel to remote marshes to enjoy it. Not anymore, and a mother goose in Cedar Rapids shows she enjoys urban life.

Giant Canada geese were once nearly exterminated, but a small flock was discovered.  Volunteer groups and biologists carefully transplanted geese to new locations, often to urban ponds. Boy, did the huge birds ever love them!

Favorite Foraging

Canada geese love dining on short mowed grass. Lawns surrounding ponds in golf courses and condominiums are perfect habitat. The big birds don’t mind human activity or noise and have expanded so much that many people consider them pests.

Nesting Preferences

Usually, a goose pair chooses a hidden nest site. It may be near an urban area but often is in tall grass or bushes and is hard to spot. Not so one Cedar Rapids goose. She made her nest in a small island of woodchips and dandelions between a parking lot and road. Within sight is a movie theater, tattoo parlor, and medical building!

We are curious about how mom and dad plan to get the goslings to the nearest pond which is a distance away and through traffic.

Sitting, Hatching, and Raising

Goose eggs take about 35 days to hatch.  Mom does the incubation but dad is normally close by and is a good protector. They mate for life and can live for decades. When the goslings hatch mom and dad lead them to a pond or river and teach them how to find food.

Our urban goose may be wise. The major nest threat is predation by dogs, raccoons, opossums, and skunks. They all avoid busy parking lots. So the goose couple may have chosen a safe nesting location…..or perhaps they just want to take in a movie, get a tattoo, or visit a doctor!

 

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