With over 130 species of birdlife observed in Centennial Parklands, one of the most popular are the Pilgrim Geese.
Called Settler Geese in Australia they are a breed of domestic goose. The origins of this breed are unclear, but they are thought to be either descended from stock in Europe, or developed from American stock during the Great Depression era.
Pilgrim geese are one of the oldest breeds of geese available.
An autosexing breed, the males are white, while females are darker, with grey and white or brown and white plumage. They’re generally mellow and calm natured, being good foragers and good parents (laying 20 – 50 eggs per year). Like all geese, they have good eyesight, good memories, and they prefer to have a set, calm routine. When there isn’t something riling them up, they aren’t usually that noisy, either.
Geese are amazingly intelligent animals eating all manner of weeds and grass. Their bill and tongue are particularly well-equipped for grazing. Similar to the Australian Wood Duck (Chenonetta jubata) the bill has sharp interlocking serrated edges designed to easily cut and divide grass and other plant tissue like a hacksaw. The tongue at the tip is covered with hard, hair-like projections, pointing towards the throat, which quickly convey the pieces of grass and other vegetable material into the throat.
It only takes a goose twenty minutes to digest food and then excrete it, so be aware, they can be quite messy!
They also prefer to mate on water and some say that once geese are mated they are paired for life but they will find another partner if they lose their mate (a bit like us).
The term goose applies to the birds in general, and the female in particular. The word gander is used for a male. Young birds, before fledging, are called goslings. A group of geese on the ground is called a gaggle and when flying in formation they are called a wedge or a skein.
Where to see the Settlers Geese in Centennial Parklands
Generally wandering near the Rose Garden and Busbys Pond.