Found among the European North Atlantic islands, the barnacle goose starts life out via dramatic means. These geese live in closely packed colonies on cliff sides and migrate in large flocks consisting of 100s of geese. Throughout the warmer months of the year they can be found in coastal tundra with rocky outcrops and cliffs; as well as steep slopes. Typically they congregate near lakes, rivers, and marshes. In the winter they can be found in mudflats, grassy fields near coastal regions, and salt marshes. Even though they are affected by climate change, these geese are listed as Least Concern, by the IUCN, due to their sheer numbers.
First the Stats…
Scientific name: Branta leucopsis
Weight: Up to 4.9 lbs.
Length: Up to 2.4 feet
Wingspan: Up to 4.75 feet
Lifespan: Up to 24 years
Now on to the Facts!
1.) These geese eat grass, moss, sedge, roots, and herbs.
2.) They are preyed on by arctic foxes and polar bears.
3.) A group of barnacle geese is called a flock, a wedge, a gaggle, or a skein.
4.) These birds are famous for the fact that they build their nests high up in the cliffs. Not only that but when the time comes to feed the chicks, they are encouraged to jump from their nests and seem to hit every single rock on the way down.
5.) Fortunately, their feathery down and light weight protects them from serious injury from their perilous fall from on high. Once on the ground, they can begin searching for food.
But wait, there’s more on the barnacle goose!
6.) Barnacle geese are monogamous (mate for life).
7.) The male will be chosen by a female after a successful triumph ceremony. The male engages in vocalizations and body postures. If the female is responsive, she will also engage in loud calls of her own. Eventually, the pair will mate.
Did you know…?
The barnacle goose can reach speed bursts of up to 60 mph!
8.) Females lay 1 egg per day until the desired amount, typically 4 – 5 has been reached. The chicks are born as precocial young. This means they are born alert and ready to fend for themselves.
9.) Barnacle geese were once thought to be born from driftwood.
10.) Another legend claimed that the geese were born from barnacles, since they were not seen in the summer time, but the barnacles were. Truth is that these birds merely migrated north in the summer months.
Now a Short Barnacle Goose Video!
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