Thursday, 12 February 2015

B.O.T.D. Greater White-Fronted Goose

B.O.T.D. Feb 12, 2015

Greater White-Fronted Goose (Anser albifrons)

Geese are monogamous - they take one mate and form a uniquely enduring pair-bond. In some birds, pair-bonding involves no long-term commitment. It may be a familiar pattern among grouse and other species that hold no territory. And a female hummingbird is deserted by the male before the blush has left her cheeks. The ties that bind most other birds are made of even stronger stuff: they may last the entire breeding season, or even through succeeding years. In such cases the males often help in various ways - although some get by by doing little more than troubadoring in the trees.

Geese, however, seem to approach the human ideal in terms of faithfulness. The male stays with his family, protecting the nest and the young. Male and female usually remain together during migration and throughout winter's lean times, year after year, until finally death parts them. Some ornithologists hold that the long-lasting pair-bond is really just a convenience - that mated geese are both attached to their nesting area rather than to each other. Others, however, can cite cases of fidelity and sacrifice that have few parallels, avian or human.