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T.R.'s Tips; Duck & Goose Communication
Old 06-23-2009, 03:25 PM
TRMichels TRMichels is offline
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Default T.R.'s Tips; Duck & Goose Communication

There is no place else to put this, so I'll post it here.

This is from my book "Duck & Goose Addict's Manual":

Chapter 6: Duck and Goose Communication

Some hunters may not realize that communication among ducks and geese is a combination of sound, body posture and action. The meaning of a call may be more related to body posture and action than to the sound of the call. Because it is difficult to duplicate body posture and action you need to understand the call in order to correctly recreate it. According to waterfowl researcher Dr. Jim Cooper there are two major factors that determine the meaning of a duck or goose call; the frequency and the intensity of the call. There are two other factors that determine the difference between different species and subspecies of ducks and geese; the pitch and duration of the individual notes of the calls.

The frequency or tempo (speed) with which a duck or goose calls is related to the action of the bird; the faster the motion of the duck or goose, the faster the call. The calling of a duck or goose on land or water is related to how fast it is moving. The calling of a duck or goose in the air is related to the downbeat of the wing stroke, which is when the duck or goose contracts its chest muscles and exhales. When a goose is calling on the ground to keep the family in contact it calling is slow. When a goose is flying, the calling is directly related to the downbeat of the wing stroke, which is when the goose contracts it chest muscles and exhales. When a goose is flying in formation its call is a slow, measured honk. When a goose is pumping its wings rapidly during takeoff or landing it calling is fast. Fast calls are a sign of a rapidly moving duck or goose.

The intensity (loudness) of the call is related to the mood of the duck or goose. The more anxious, excited, irritated or nervous the duck or goose is the louder the call is; taking off, landing, threatening and attacking are situations that may cause a duck to become anxious, which causes loud calling. If a goose is attacking another goose its calling is louder than if it is just threatening. Mating, threatening, attacking, landing and taking off are all intense times for ducks and geese, and their calling is often louder than normal at those times.

When a female duck uses a quack to keep the family together while she's feeding the call is usually soft and slow. When the quack is used to keep the family together while flying the call is louder and faster. When the quack is used to get the family back together after it has been separated, or by a lone duck trying to locate its family or a flock in the air, the call is louder. When the quack is used as a hen jumps into the air after being alarmed it is loud and fast. When a hen uses a chuckle on the water the call is loud and slow, because the duck is not moving fast. When a hen uses the chuckle in the air the call is faster, because the duck is beating its wings rapidly. Remember this when you are calling; loud calls may be a sign of an excited duck or goose, or a lost duck or goose.

The pitch (musical tone) of the call, and the duration (length) of the notes of the call, are related to the size of the duck or goose. Generally speaking, the larger the species of duck or goose, the larger its chest cavity is, and the deeper the pitch of its call. And, generally speaking, the larger the species of duck or goose, the longer its wing are, the slower it beats its wings, the longer the notes of its call, and the slower the timing (rapidity) of the individual notes of its call. Although Teal and Mallards use the same basic decrescendo call, the Mallard decrescendo is lower in pitch, and the individual notes are longer and slower than the decrescendo call of the Teal. The call of a giant Canada goose consists of low pitched, long notes, that are medium spaced; herr-onk herr-onk.

The call of a small cackling Canada goose consists of high pitched, short notes that are quick paced; unc... unc. A study of Barnacle geese subspecies suggests that geese within that species, that have wider mouths than other subspecies, have higher pitched calls than subspecies with narrower mouths. This may be another reason why smaller subspecies of geese have higher pitched calls than larger subspecies of geese.

If you have questions - fire away.

God bless,

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