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Name: Anthony
Status: other
Age: 40s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000-2001


Question:
While looking out of my study window at home in Surrey, which is just south of London in the UK, I have noticed many large flocks of geese migrating North.

As far as I understand the principles of migration, birds go south in the winter to escape the severity of the weather. Why is then that geese appear to do the exact opposite and travel North to the harsher climates at this time of year.


Replies:
Tony,

I am not certain about your particular observation, but there could be two possibilities.

I have see, here in the USA (Pennsylvania) that birds flying overhead are not always headed directly south in the fall or north in the spring. There may be a sort of finding their travel bearings and assigment of head goose during part of the migration process, where the observed direction is not the ultimate direction destination.

A second possibility might have to do with the particular area you describe. It is common that expected temperatures based on latitude/longitude for a region are often greatly modified by proximity to water. For example, coastal areas here in the US which are influenced by the gulf streams are often warmer than predicted. Since I don't know the habit of the particular birds you describe, I cannot state for certain, but there is the possibility that by heading to the area (assuming they are actually ultimately going in that direction) might represent their knowledge that there are warmer climes, even if they might be to the north due to body-of-water temperature modification.

You might try consulting a good text describing the habit of the particular bird species you are describing.

Thanks for using NEWTON!

Ric Rupnik


Geese have to practice flying to build up their flight muscles for a long flight such as migration. They will do this as a group and fly in very large circles, in any direction, for several weeks. I suspect this is what you observed.

Steve Sample


You must check any area they can breed. This includes houseplant soil and and cracks in woodwork, especially where water might be available. Over the short term, once any habitat or potential food are removed, the flies will quickly cease to live in the area.

Ric Rupnik


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