Here’s Why Migrating Canada Geese Fly In The Wrong Direction?

Migrating Canada Geese Fly In The Wrong Direction

The Canada goose is a large wild goose that is native to the arctic and temperate regions of Northern America.

Like many geese, they are migrating birds and are infamous for their seasonal migrations. They have historically been observed to have rigid migratory paths, with little to no deviation every year.

They make seasonal migrations most famously when the weather gets colder, during the autumn months that is from September to the beginning of November.

Why Do Canada Geese Fly In The Wrong Direction?

Seasonal migrations aren’t a linear process that goes from point A to B.

If you observe these birds going around in different directions than the north-south one, it is more likely that they are stopping at rest stops. 

From these rest stops the family of birds forages around for food and in search of feeding grounds.

Before the iconic southward migration made by Canadian geese in the colder months of the region, there comes a slightly more informal movement towards the end of summer, that has no particular direction or strict structure. 

In late summer, there is a period for birds referred to as ‘molting’ whereby adult geese become flightless. 

Molting is a process where the bird discards its old, damaged, feathers and is replaced them with new, fuller, plumage. This is a process undertaken every year. 

During this process, the parent geese tend to nest in regions where there are water bodies nearby like lakes or rivers. 

This serves the double purpose of letting the goslings feed easier and allowing them to escape quickly in the case of attack from predators.

Once the molting process is complete and the adult birds regain their feathers, the young birds are trained to fly as well. 

The period for flight training varies from 7 weeks to 9 weeks. Once the family is ready to fly, the family takes off in search of more favorable conditions and productive feeding grounds.

This movement is not as strictly marked in its route or direction and can be in any direction.

Many others also fly away to different grounds with safer conditions to protect them from predators when they are in the molting process.

In September and October, they make their way back home after molting, and it could be that these are the birds you see flying in the “wrong” direction.

Where Do Canadian Geese Migrate To?

The Canadian Geese, native to North America, is one of the most common geese in the region. Their migration patterns dictate their life cycle and breeding and nesting patterns.

Canadian geese migrate southward from Canada to brave the harsh winters of America.

They then fly back to Canada in the spring and early summer, where they breed to produce goslings and settle in for the coming quarter.

What Month Do Canadian Geese Migrate?

It is important to know that not all Canadian geese migrate but those who do so migrate twice a year. The first of these is in the months of September to October. 

During these months, the geese migrate from America to get through harsh cold winters. They stay in these non-breeding, warm, sites for all of winter. 

The second migration comes in the spring and summer time, that is during the months of April, May, or early June, they migrate back to their breeding sites.

How Far South Do Canadian Geese Go For Winter?

The distance covered by Canadian geese during their seasonal migrations depends highly on the location of their arctic nesting grounds and their overwintering spots in the south. 

Canadian geese typically travel an impressive distance of up to 2,500 miles south during their winter migrations, to the United States and Northern Mexico.

Why Do Canadian Geese Fly South In The Winter?

Canadian geese migrate from their breeding grounds during the wintertime primarily because of the lack of resources that is a consequence of the harsh weather. 

There is a decreasing amount of food and shelter, and so as the conditions worsen in the September-October months, the geese migrate to warmer regions in the south and stay there all winter.

What Does It Mean When Canadian Geese Are Flying North?

Geese who migrate do so first towards the south to brave the cold. They then migrate north because that is the best breeding condition for their offspring.

They go north purely to escape the cold and once the conditions become more favorable, they go southwards, right back home!

Why Do Canadian Geese Fly Upside Down?

The maneuver described here is referred to as whiffling. Whiffling is where they twist their neck and fly upside down, keeping their heads the right way up. 

This process allows geese to make a quick but controlled descent in the span of a few seconds.

They are basically using all the aerodynamic mechanisms that keep it airborne and flipping it upside down to plummet it down.

Do Geese Sleep While Flying?

Amazingly yes! But there are, of course, many conditions here. They sleep only when there are rising air currents and also only do so in short bursts of ten seconds.

The rising air currents are crucial to ensure they don’t fall down into the water when taking these short and controlled naps!

In Conclusion

Avian migration is in itself a miracle of nature, and Canadian geese migration, more so.

They revolve their life cycles of breeding and raising young ones all on the basis of their migratory patterns. We hope you learned something new and interesting about them today!

Thank you for reading!

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