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Greylag goose

- The greylag goose was nearly extinct in Denmark
Today, the greylag goose is the most widespread goose species to be a breeding bird in Denmark. It is a big and delicious goose, and was previously close to extinction due to being hunted. The species was common in the 1800s, but due to hunting, at the beginning of 1900 there were only 20 breeding pairs left. Hunting was permitted all year round and in ”Frøken Jensen's Cookbook” from 1909, it says about wild geese ”Greylag geese are highly recommended here. They are plucked, gutted, larded and cooked either as a tame goose or game".
After limiting the hunting season and proper maintenance of hunt-free reserves in Denmark, the Netherlands and Spain, the population has risen over the past 100 years and the Danish breeding population has now risen to about 10,000 pairs. Greylag geese breed in lakes, bogs and larger parks near meadows or lawns that can be used for foraging. Along the Wadden Sea coast, the greylag goose is a migratory bird and the greylag goose has also begun to winter in Denmark, where it feeds on fields with winter crops.
 Greylag goose, © Biopix SD Lund
Niels Holgersen flew around Sweden with a flock of geese
Many know the story of the boy Niels Holgersen, who was turned into an elf. On the back of a domestic goose, he travels around Sweden with a flock of wild grey geese. The story was a commissioned work, where the author Selma Lagerlöf was asked to write a textbook/reading book that also described the Swedish landscapes and geography. Today the book is a famous classic and is translated into many languages.
The greylag goose is the ancestress of the domestic goose. It is mostly grey with a lighter belly and dark wings, the feet are pink, the beak is orange-red. It is 80 cm long and has a wingspan of 147-180 cm. It feeds on grasses and herbs, and in autumn it eats wasted corn on the stubbled fields. It is widespread in Europe and Siberia. These Danish breeding birds winter in Holland or southern Spain.

 Greylag goose, © Biopix JC Schou