Canada geese are sizable creatures: they can weigh up to 24 or so pounds, are two to four feet long, and may develop a wingspan of up to six feet or more. These are the same basic dimensions of a bald eagle! Yet the eagle migrates at most 230 miles per day with an average of about 100 miles, while the goose can fly 1,500 miles per day in good weather.
The reason is several fold: Eagles and other raptors use thermals to soar, which is not a direct route. Geese avoid thermals, often flying by night, which saves energy lost to day-time heat. Geese fly in formation, which allows them to take advantage of their flapping. They also use a coordinated approach, trading off leaders.
They can also land on a dime. Watch this guy choose his space.
Landing in a flock can get pretty challenging. I wish I had his shoulders.
Geese at rest are also interesting. Two large flocks arrived in close time. As I scanned the flocks, I noticed this rather pretty bird. I haven't been able to discover why her breast is so rosy but she stood out in the crowd.
This guy seems to be wondering why the water is so shallow while the second one decided to displace some starlings.
And as the sun set, a third flock dropped in.
And our day came to a quiet end.