Good Question: What's Up With All The Geese?
During the last few weeks you've probably noticed massive groups of geese congregating in fields or on lakes around Siouxland. A viewer called us up last week to ask, 'Why are there so many geese this year?'
It's a "Good Question" and we found the answer.
A Snow Goose at Snyder's Bend? Nah, that's just Doug Chafa with the Iowa department of Natural resources.
"Sometimes when you look up all you can see is the silhouette of these flocks of geese but there's a way you can tell which of the geese they are," says Chafa.
By the bird call.
"The white Front geese make more of a 3 note yodel. So it's more of a dodaldoot, dodaldoot. It's much faster than that," says Chafa.
Doug's got all three calls down - the Snow, White-fronted and Canada goose.
The reason why we've had more geese around this year is because during migration they've actually had to stop in different parts of Siouxland including right here at McCook lake. That's because we've had so many late snow storms but the weather's gotten a lot nicer and they've moved on.
In other words - it was a goose traffic jam.
"Those birds start hitting the frozen lakes and snow covered fields and so they stop. There's still birds coming in from the south so we noticed a real big build up of geese," says Chafa.
The Canada geese are the only ones that will stick around through the summer.
"We're within just probably a week or 10 days of them starting to lay eggs so nesting season is upon us," he says.
Despite the traffic jam their population is actually down by 30%
"Because of the flood and even last years drought we've seen a slight decline in the number of nesting Canada geese but they're still doing really well," he says.
And a bonus question: Why do geese fly in a V-formation when they migrate?
"There's something to be said about the aerodynamics of the way their doing that, and geese and a lot of birds in general are gregarious. They congregate together," says Chafa.
The V-pattern cuts through wind making it easier for the birds in the back.
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