Graylag Goose

Graylag Goose, Vancouver Island, BC
Graylag Goose, Vancouver Island, BC, photo by Bud Logan

Greylag Geese or as they are commonly called, the Grey Goose, can be found in  North Africa, Greenland, the Middle East, Asia, and Japan. On rare occasions, they will visit North America. I have seen them on Vancouver Island a few times, mixed in with the Canada Geese and the Coots.

After the breeding season and the young have fledged, the adults will go through a molt that replaces all flight feathers, they are unable to fly for up to a month. Prior to this, the adults will do a molt migration in very large flocks that will take them to areas with plenty of feed and safe places to roost.

Greylag Geese will reach maturity at about two years of age, but will not breed until the following spring. They breed in loose colonies between April – May in the north and late April to early May in Iceland and Scotland. The nests are haphazard piles of plant matter that have a depression in the middle that is lined with down and feathers. The average hen will lay an average of 6 eggs, although as many as 12 can be laid. The eggs hatch after about 28 days.

Graylag Goose, Vancouver Island, BC
Graylag Goose, Vancouver Island, BC, Photo By Bud Logan

Greylag Geese mostly feed during the morning and evening, although non-breeding birds may also feed at night. They consume a wide variety of marsh and field plants, including grass, roots, shoots, leaves, stems, seed heads and sprouts, and fruits of other herbaceous marsh vegetation, aquatic plants, and grains. They winter on lowland farmland in open country, marshes, swamps, lakes, reservoirs, coastal lagoons, flooded grasslands, and estuaries.

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