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kelly's avatar

Do migrating geese eat much when they migrate?

Asked by kelly (1883 points ) March 3rd, 2010

Living in Northern Illinois, today I first noticed huge flights of geese going North. We have significant snow cover here and throughout southern Wisconsin. How do they, or do they feed during the many days of migration when the rural fields are snow covered?

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3 Answers

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

They eat a lot. The migration process is slow, and often takes several months for geese, so they need to eat about the same as they normally would. They can dig through snow covered fields to get to grass, corn, and quite possibly their favorite – winter wheat. If snow is too deep to get through, they may keep flying in search of more accessible food. If they do find a good area with easily accessible food, they may stay there for a few days to load up before making the next leg of their trip.

Bugabear's avatar

what @jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities sai. They store up a lot of food for their flight. I think thats how “ethical” fois gras is made. By harvesting their livers before they leave.

escapedone7's avatar

Well I do know at least one stop along the way where they stop to Gorge themselves before they reach your location @rkelly. In Southern Illinois there is a Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge . Also there are lots of rural areas in something called the Shawnee National Forest. I know at the wildlife refuge hoards of geese stop and engorge themselves. Often times food is put out for them by the refuge rangers. Fields of corn and other crops are grown and then left for the various animals in the refuge. Since it is a little warmer there, there is no snow at the moment. The geese do seem to hit it as a major spot to stop and stay for a while before moving on north. I am sure the geese you saw had a good stay and feed at Crab Orchard . I also am sure there are other places like it.

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