Why Do Geese Honk When They Fly? (Explained)

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Geese are interesting creatures that you have probably seen soaring through the sky in their classic V formation, honking along the way. But you may be wondering why do geese honk when they fly? The simple answer is to keep the flock together, but geese focalize for a wide array of reasons. Keep on reading to find out more about geese and their honking.  

Why do geese honk when they fly?

Geese honk when they fly to keep the flock together while also maintaining the integrity of the flock. The honking not only lets the geese know where to go, but it also acts as a form of encouragement to the other geese, letting them know to keep up the speed. Honking is an important part of their teamwork and communication that keeps the flock motivated and together. 

Do all species of geese honk when they fly?

There are at least 9 species of goose, not including domesticated and exotic species. And all of these species of geese honk when they fly. The goose you probably see most often, however, is the Canada goose, which is sometimes called the Canadian goose.

These birds have large bodies with long black necks with white patches on their cheeks. They live in various areas, such as near water and grassy or grain fields. They are also attracted to lawns because it provides them with an abundance of food and they have an unobstructed view of the area, which is useful to spot any potential predators.

Why do geese fly in a V formation?

Image by Mohamed Nuzrath from Pixabay

The V formation that geese fly in lets the flock work as a team. When the goose flaps its wings, it naturally creates an uplift for the bird directly following behind. This provides the flock with 71-percent more flying range than if a single goose flew by itself. Also, the lead goose at the front of the formation will change throughout the flight.

The flock rotates the leader, letting the goose rest for a bit at the back of the line while another goose takes the lead. This is a form of sharing the workload that is vital for teamwork.

Do geese honk when they’re not flying?

Geese honk for all sorts of reasons, including for reasons that occur on the ground. They honk to protect their babies in the nest, as well as to warn unwanted guests to stay away, and even to attract mates. With that said, however, some research has shown that geese do honk more while flying than they do on the ground. 

Honking is also common when the goose feels threatened. It acts as a warning sign to get away before the goose attacks. They will also pump their head, open their bill showing their raised tongue, hiss at the attacker, and even vibrate their neck feathers.

In the case of a goose attacking another goose, if it doesn’t back off, the threatened goose can attack and grab the other by the neck or breast, and then they will hit each other with their wings.


Interesting fact about Canada geese:

Canada geese are interesting birds, but one of the most fascinating facts is that they mate for life. Canada geese are monogamous birds that stay with their mates for the entirety of their lifespan, which is about 24 years. These feathered animals find their mates when they’re about 2 years old, and they end up staying together for life.


Are geese bad for your yard?

Geese can cause a wide array of issues for you and your home. Their feces is one of the biggest problems facing property owners. Not only is it unpleasant to look at, but goose poop can contain various parasites and diseases, including giardia, campylobacter, cryptosporidium, and coliform. All of which can pose serious health hazards to people and animals.

Goose feces isn’t the only issue geese can cause. Geese can sometimes become aggressive and attack when you’re just trying to enjoy your yard. If faced with an attacking goose, do not try striking or kicking the animal, as this will only cause it to become more aggressive and may alert other members of the flock.

Instead, the Ohio Geese Control recommend staring down the attacking goose since they have good eyesight and will be able to perceive by your body language that you are a threat to them. While staring them down, maintain eye contact while backing away slowly. Do not turn your back on them or stop staring at them. Furthermore, make sure to remain neutral and not hostile.

How do I keep geese out of my yard?

Trying to get rid of geese that have decided to make your yard their home isn’t difficult, but does require determination. Keep in mind, however, that Canada geese are protected by United States federal law, and it is illegal to harm the geese, their nests, or their eggs without permission from U.S. Fish and Wild Service (USFWS), according to the Human Society. With that said, you can scare away geese without USFWS permission  as long as the goose or its goslings, eggs, and nest are not harmed.

Image by VoThoGraf from Pixabay

The best defense against geese in your yard is to use multiple tactics to make the area unpleasant for the birds. This includes modifying your lawn to reduce the amount of food and nesting areas.

You will also need to add some non-harmful harassment techniques to make your yard less inviting to the geese. Placing a plastic nest will help deter geese from taking up residence in your yard. Other options include regularly chasing the geese off your property, installing decoys in your yard to scare off the geese, or installing a motion activated sprinkler. 


Conclusion

Vocalization is an important part of the animal kingdom. And the main reason why do geese honk when they fly is to help keep their flock together. This is a useful tool to ensure the birds stay together and work as efficiently as possible. And in the goose-world, efficiency and communication are key to maintaining a strong flock. 

About Jesse

Jesse enjoys bird watching and feeding birds in his backyard, learning about the different species, and sharing his knowledge and experiences.