WINNIPEG – It’s a sure sign fall is here. Thousands of Canada Geese are passing through our city on the long flight south for the winter.
Geese living in Winnipeg are expected to start taking off in the next three days or so, according to Barrett Miller from Fort Whyte Alive.
He says we’ll hit our peak geese population in a few weeks, as the ones from further north pass through.
“We get up to 40,000 geese right around Thanksgiving,” he says.
Miller says geese from further north actually tend to fly further south. Some will go as far down as the Gulf of Mexico. Many of those geese will stop off here on their way.
“Winnipeg is like the Chicago O’Hare Airport for geese,” he says. “So those little Canada geese come in, they sleep in our ponds. They do that for a week or ten days. It’s called staging.”
The animals will often gather around retention ponds before taking off. Miller says they actually have a deposit of iron in their brains, which acts as a compass.
“They can actually sense changes in the earth’s magnetic field as they fly. They can navigate in the dark, in the clouds, in the fog and still end up where they’re going.”
The flight south can take as long as six weeks.