EOdT6asmhl8sd Things You Need to Know About Greylag Geese!

Things You Need to Know About Greylag Geese!

This video covers everything you could ever need or want to know about the Greylag goose, from their appearance to what greylags eat, where greylags nest, how long greylags live for and much more.

The Greylag is the largest species of goose that is found in the UK. They can grow to have a wingspan of 1.6 meters and can weigh as much as 3 and a half kilos. These birds are found in most wetland habitats and are a common sight in rivers, reservoirs, and urban park ponds. During the night they will also travel away from water in to farmlands and meadows in search of food.
Greylag’s are a slate grey colour over most of their bodies with slightly darker wings. They have an orange beak and their feet are a washed out pink colour.
As they are often found in and around places where people live, a lot of an urban greylag’s diet is food that is provided by people, bread, seeds and other scraps, but naturally they will also eat grass, grain and sometimes aquatic vegetation.
Greylags usually start nesting in April time, when the pair make a large nest of reeds, leaves and grasses on the ground, often quite close to water and usually well hidden amongst vegetation. The female lines the nest with soft feathers and then lays around 6 eggs that are about one and half times the size of a hens egg. The female goose will then incubate the eggs alone for 28 days whilst the male, which is known as a gander keeps watch nearby, chasing away any perceived threats. Baby geese are known as goslings and when they first hatch out they covered in green to yellow downy fluff. As the incubation doesn’t start until all of the eggs are laid the goslings all hatch out within hours of each other and once they are out of their eggs their parents lead them straight to water. Unlike a lot of baby birds, goslings do not get fed by their parents but mimic what the parents do and feed themselves straight away. They have a voracious appetite and are constantly eating. Because of this they grow fast and look like scruffier versions of their parents after just a few weeks. However, because of their size and weight, it can take as much as 9 weeks before the goslings are able to take flight. The family then spend the following winter together as a group and it is not until the following spring when the parents begin to nest again that the young geese will leave.
In the UK there are approximately 46,000 pairs of greylags and this increases to around 230,000 individuals in the winter as birds that breed in Iceland migrate down to spend the winters here. Their populations have risen by 65% over the last 25 years and there are currently no serious threats to the species. Greylags can live for a surprisingly long time in the wild with an average life expectancy of 8 years although one ringed individual made it to 19 years and 7 months before it died of natural causes.

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