The team spirit of the Canada goose


In 1995, at the Jakarta conference, the countries that were signatory to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity chose Montreal to be the headquarters for the secretariat of this important convention. Following this diplomatic success, Environment Canada honoured Canadian members of the delegation by bestowing the “Canada Goose” award to underline the result of our teamwork.


The Canada goose does actually owe its successful survival to cooperation and mutual assistance. Here are a few examples. In the spring and fall, during the great migratory gatherings – and even in summer and winter – the Canada geese often assemble in fields to feed.

Typically, a few individual geese keep their heads up to monitor the surroundings while the others feed. These sentries honk loudly at the least hint of trouble. During incubation and while the goslings are small, one parent will take its turn monitoring the situation while the other rests, feeds, or incubates the eggs.

After the young hatch, the parents and goslings from several clutches get together and form creches (and the same phenomenon is also seen in other bird species such as the wild turkey or eider duck). Supervision of the young and their initiation in finding food is thus shared by all the parents who are present.

It’s during the big migrations that the teamwork of the Canada geese is most spectacular. The birds fly in formation, one after the other, creating the immense characteristic V. The fittest birds take turns heading the peloton, with the others following in their wake, saving energy.

The geese can, in this way, fly at an average speed of 50 to 65 km/h and travel more than 2,400 km in a single day. Like the Canada geese, cyclists have understood the advantage of travelling in a peloton.

Let’s follow the example of the Canada goose to show the value of team spirit. After all, “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together”.


By the same author: Those elegant weasels (Click the image below)


Jacques Prescott83 Posts

Jacques Prescott est biologiste, professeur associé à la Chaire en éco-conseil de l’Université du Québec à Chicoutimi et co-fondateur de l’Animalium, le musée zoologique de Mont-Tremblant. Spécialiste de la biodiversité et du développement durable, il est l’auteur de nombreux livres et articles sur la faune et la conservation de la nature. Il nous fait l’honneur de rejoindre notre équipe de collaborateurs et signera chaque mois une chronique intitulée Faune et flore. / Jacques Prescott is a biologist, associate professor with the Chair in Eco-Counselling of the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, and co-founder of Animalium, the zoological museum of Mont-Tremblant. A specialist in biodiversity and sustainable development, he is the author of numerous books and articles about wildlife and nature conservation. He has honoured us by joining our team of contributors and will write a monthly column entitled Wildlife and Habitat.


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