GRAY GOOSE

This is a big goose that weighs 3-4.3 kilos and sometimes even 6 kilos. The color is light-gray, particularly the back and the tail. The adult species have black spots on belly. The beak is pink.

The bird feeds on plant food: grass and berries. In spring it feeds at water basins eating water plants and young grass. During breeding period the goose eats only the water plants. Following the mew the bird adds land plants to its diet: seeds, berries and agricultural plants.

The flight is usually low with rare wing beats. However, during seasonal migration the birds fly at very high altitude forming a V-shaped or single-ranked flock. There can be from just a few to several hundred birds in a flock. The geese return from their wintering areas very early when there is still ice covering water basins and the ground is hidden under snow. The birds that nest in the southern regions fly back in the first half of March; those living in the north return in April. The geese fly to the south in the middle of September (the northern species) or in late October and even November (southern birds).

The goose inhabits standing water basins surrounded by cane: bogs, lakes, ponds etc. The bird is encountered in moors and floodplains where it chooses the most inaccessible places for its habitat. The goose is very agile, good in swimming and ducking. It catches its food while staying on the ground. It is a very strong, cautious and wakeful bird.

The geese nest in colonies. They start to build the nests after the snow is thawed and the water is free of ice. The big nests are made on dried ground or water out of cane or other plants with the down-hair lining. The egg-set consists of 4-6 (sometimes 10) white or yellowish eggs. The nestlings hatch out in 28 days. The reproductive age starts at 3-4 years.