FAIRMONT — On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me six geese a laying.
The Canada geese in our Times West Virginian photo were found along NASA Boulevard in Fairmont.
According to the website www.ducks.org, in the early 1900s the giant Canada goose population was nearly extinct. However, today the population has become a problem for many people and business. It is estimated that the giant goose population has increased an average of 3 percent a year from 1998 to 2007. It is now estimated that there are more than 3 million Canada geese world wide.
West Virginia is one state that allows Canada geese to be hunted.
In a press release, Curtis Taylor, Wildlife Resources section chief, stated, “Canada geese are found throughout West Virginia, but the largest concentrations are in the major river valleys where agriculture and suburban landscapes provide an abundance of open land,”
Hunters are allowed five geese a day and can hunt from a half hour before sunrise until sunset. The final season for 2014 began Dec. 16. See the West Virginia’s 2014-2015 Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations brochure for complete regulations and dates.
Geese can be a nuisance; however, there are some interesting facts about geese that the average person may not know.
According to www.takeflightgoosemgt.com, a goose can eat more than 1-5 pounds of grass a day and produce about 1-2 pounds of waste a day.
Geese mate for life and stay together throughout the year. They return each year to the area where they were born to mate and nest. They will only find a new mate if the mate is killed or dies.
The geese mating season is February through early April; nesting season is from mid March to May.
Each nesting pair of geese can produce an average of 5-6 eggs; however, they can produce as many as 10-12 eggs.
Eggs hatch in 28 to 30 days. The gosling will be able to fly in 2-3 months. During the maturing of the goslings, the adult geese will not leave the area and will attack humans to protect their young.
There are two types of Canada geese, resident and migratory.
Migration season is October through March.
Resident geese do not know how to migrate. They can fly great distances but usually have a range of 100- 200 miles.
However the migratory geese can fly 2,000-3,000 miles in one season.
Flying that great a distance takes a great deal of energy. That is why geese fly in a V pattern, according to the website www.loc.gov.
First, it conserves their energy. Each bird flies slightly above the bird in front of him, resulting in a reduction of wind resistance. The birds take turns being in the front, falling back when they get tired. In this way, the geese can fly for a long time before they must stop for rest.
The second benefit to the V formation is that it is easy to keep track of every bird in the group. Flying in formation may assist with the communication and coordination within the group. Fighter pilots often use this formation for the same reason.
So the next time you see a gaggle of geese and think of them a major nuisance, just stop and think about some of their unique qualities.