CANADA GEESE- Sounds of Spring

Here’s a group of visitors from Canada going head to head in a fight, while another group stands on the sidelines, calling out in encouragement. No, it’s not a hockey game; we’re talking about Canada geese. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

“The behavior of Canada geese varies extremely throughout the year. Most of the year they’re fairly quiet; they’re highly social and gregarious animals. There’s a good deal of squabbling that goes on over access to food and access to prime sites to rest, but for the most part they’re quite tolerant of one another. And yet in spring, when the breeding season comes on, they become highly aggressive. There’s a great deal of squawking and commotion that goes on. Fighting becomes intense at times. Pairs face off with other pairs to delineate where one territory begins and another ends. And they become quite aggressive at that point.”

Phillip Whitford is an Associate Professor of Biology at Capital University.

“This is the standard sound of spring on the marshes as territories are being fought over. There are a dozen geese here that are are fighting at the same time. There are a number of individuals standing around, heads up watching the two males beat each other senseless with their wings and cheering them on like a bunch of schoolboys in a schoolyard. The whole thing rises and falls; there’s a pulse to the sound as it ebbs and flows. Aggression picks up every twenty to thirty seconds and then dies down and picks up again. It’s a constant cacophony of sound that goes on in spring. You hear the merging of many different voices.”

We’ll hear more on Canada Geese in future programs.

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

CANADA GEESE- Sounds of Spring

Canada Geese provide their own raucous sounds of spring.
Air Date:05/19/2000
Scientist:
Transcript:

Here's a group of visitors from Canada going head to head in a fight, while another group stands on the sidelines, calling out in encouragement. No, it's not a hockey game; we're talking about Canada geese. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

"The behavior of Canada geese varies extremely throughout the year. Most of the year they're fairly quiet; they're highly social and gregarious animals. There's a good deal of squabbling that goes on over access to food and access to prime sites to rest, but for the most part they're quite tolerant of one another. And yet in spring, when the breeding season comes on, they become highly aggressive. There's a great deal of squawking and commotion that goes on. Fighting becomes intense at times. Pairs face off with other pairs to delineate where one territory begins and another ends. And they become quite aggressive at that point."

Phillip Whitford is an Associate Professor of Biology at Capital University.

"This is the standard sound of spring on the marshes as territories are being fought over. There are a dozen geese here that are are fighting at the same time. There are a number of individuals standing around, heads up watching the two males beat each other senseless with their wings and cheering them on like a bunch of schoolboys in a schoolyard. The whole thing rises and falls; there's a pulse to the sound as it ebbs and flows. Aggression picks up every twenty to thirty seconds and then dies down and picks up again. It's a constant cacophony of sound that goes on in spring. You hear the merging of many different voices."

We'll hear more on Canada Geese in future programs.

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.