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Pictures of Birds: Embden Goose in Flight
Bird Picture: Embden goose in flight
Wildlife photographer AnnMackieMiller likes to create photo journals of the bird pictures she takes. Here is one of a series of short stories she calls Fowl Tales created around her many images of wildfowl (waterfowl).
This endearing little goose is part of a feral flock of geese who live on the Greenhill, a greenfield site off the Leeds to Liverpool canal near Bingley, West Yorkshire. She laid her eggs in a nest under an ancient hawthorn tree that is easily seen from the canal towpath on the opposite bank of the canal.
The goose is a very diligent mom, sitting on the eggs constantly with only short breaks to feed. Because of the proximity of a tow path on the opposite bank of the canal to the greenfield, the geese are used to being fed, usually bread but some of us feed them dried pellets which are much healthier for them. Geese lose a lot of weight while they sit on the nest for 30-34 days, so it is really no surprise if they go for easy pickings to save time spent grazing.
This little goose has got used to seeing the plastic bag arrive. At first she joined the rest of the birds in the water, but she quickley discovered that if she comes right onto the path, she is first in the queue and she can get back to her eggs much faster. It is a privilege to be so trusted, so much so that she meets my camera lens right on and lands at my feet.
Incorporated in this article, is her story in words and pictures plus goose information you may not already know. Enjoy and please leave me a note when you visit.
Goose picture: on the nest
Goose precautions against predators
Experienced nesters will protect their nest and eggs before they leave them. Generally they will cover the eggs with debris from around the nest and will cover them with down plucked from the mother's under-carriage. In a later goose picture you can see the effect of all that plucking on this goose's underbelly.
Common predators include magpies, crows, rooks and jackdaws. At night foxes are a danger. Geese will raise a racket whenever a fox or other predator is near. In the case of this particular nest, it was interesting see the pair of white geese coming nosily down the field at speed when a flock of crows took off and headed towards their hawthorn tree.
Goose picture: In flight
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Did you know?
- Many geese mate for life.
- Threesomes are not uncommon.
- Mates communicate nosily with each other, at a distance telling them food is around, and they have a noisy greeting every time then meet each other. No one is left in any doubt who is paired, or three'd in some cases.
- Only the female sits on the eggs.
- Where there is a threesome, all three will protect the chicks after they hatch.
- Where there is a threesome of two females to one male, both females will lay their eggs in the same nest but usually some days apart.
- A female goose is called - a goose!
- A male goose is called a gander.
- When they are on the ground they are known as a flock.
- When they are in the air they are known as a skein.
Domestic geese gone wild.
Many of the family of grey (gray) geese are domestic geese. These white geese are from Embden geese which orginate in Europe and are domestic geese gone feral. This flock started with geese who had escaped or been release from local allotments, these being small plot of land rented for gardening and poultry keeping. The original geese were very tame and these will come to be fed. On their own greenfield though, they are much warier and will make a lot of noise as they move away from humans and dogs. On the tow path they tend to treat dogs with the contempt they deserve and any human carrying a plastic bag is fair game.
As a general role it is not advisable to feed wild geese. They become too used to humans some of whom can cause them harm. Added to that, most people feed them bread which has very little nutritional value. It is particularly dangerous to feed geese mouldy bread as this can cause illness and death.
Our flock here have been fed by humans as long as they have lived here. Particularly in winter they will beg for food and walk into the busy road. One driver was callous enough to drive straight through them when they wouldn't move off the road fast enough. One was so badly injured he died some weeks later.
If you do feed geese, keep them well away from busy roads.