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GOOSE, Leading a more secure life, and partaking of plenty, its prolific powers increase in proportion to iis ease ; and though the wild goose seldom lays more than eight eggs, the tame bird frequently lays above twenty. The Goose, in its wild state, always retains the same marks: the whole upper part is ash-coloured; the breast and belly, of a dirty white; the bill large and elevated, of a flesh-colour, tinged with yellow, black at the tip ; the legs of a saffron colour; and the claws black. The wild goose is smaller than the tame. In the tame state, geese, as well as other domestic animals, vary almost infinitely in their marks; but these birds invariably retain the white ring round their tail, a proof that both are descended from one original. They are said to be very long lived. The wild goose breeds in the northern parts of Europe; and, in the beginning of winter, visits the more temperate regions: they have also been known to breed in the fens of Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire. They are often seen in flocks of from fifty to a hundred, flying at very great heights. Their cry is heard when at an imperceptible distance above us; and this seems bandied from one to another, as among hounds in pursuit. On coming to the ground by day, they range themselves in line, aud appear rather to have descended for rest than refreshment. After continuing in this form for an hour or two, one of them, with a loud long note, sounds a charge; to which the rest attend, and they all pursue their journey with renewed alacrity. Their flight is regularly arranged; they either go in a line abreast, or in two lines, joining in an angle in the middle. Their track is generally so high, that it is very difficult to reach them with a fowling-piece : in long and severe frosts, however, they fly much lower, and at such times afford good sport to the gunner. The common gray wild goose forms an excellent dish for the table.

Harewood, Harry. A Dictionary of Sports. London: T. Tegg and son, 1835.

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