How well can geese see in the dark?


11 Years
May 8, 2011
Olive Branch, MS
I was having a real hard time getting my 2 in the coop last night. I think I may have started a little too late. Usually I call for them when the sun has just gone down past the trees and they come right up. Last night I had to go down to the pond to walk them up. Duckie, the chinese, would not leave the pond, I tried numerous time to get her to follow us (me and Saria) and she would not budge. I know she is still freaked about walking thru the "kill zone" and really doesn't want to do it without company. The "kill zone" is where her mate Magoo was killed by a predator last week. I finally had to pick her up and carry her. Saria followed me back and forth each time but by the time I finally got Duckie in the coop it was getting pretty dark. She would not move from the middle of the yard. She looked to be frightened, looking towards the woods. She would walk with me a few steps and then stop. I went to her with a lantern and that seemed to help a little bit. I was just wondering if they are like wild birds and have the instinct to roost somewhere safe at dusk because their sight is not good.

Oregon Blues

8 Years
Apr 14, 2011
Central Oregon
I'd say they see just fine in the dark. Mine are impossible to sneak up on after dark.

If she kept looking towards the woods, I suspect that something was out there.

The goose girl

12 Years
Jul 7, 2010
I don't think they see very well at night. My goose can't see treats on the floor when the light is poor, and I have to bring a flashlight and keep the path lighted for him if I want him to move around in the dark.

His hearing, though, is still excellent, actually to a point where he can distinguish between my two cats even when it's pitch dark. He tolerates one of them but really hates the other one, and he can hear which one of them is going through the cat flap in the next room. If it's the one he dislikes, he'll rise and hiss as soon as he hears the flap. If it's the other one, he'll stay put and not do anything.

He, too, gets noticably skittier in the dark. He'll almost stay on my feet, and he seems really nervous. He'll react to any noise (like wind in trees). He doesn't honk loudly to greet me at night as he would by day, just kind of whispers/breathes "honks". Which made it very difficult to find him this winter - he looked just like a pile of snow. Once I almost tripped over him before I saw him.

[email protected] acres farm

10 Years
May 15, 2009
Mine don't seem to see well at night at all. They seem confused. The last time I offered that opinion here on this forum - I received a fairly snotty rebuttal about how wrong I was - based on the fact that geese fly at night, etc. It was pretty uncalled for. I'm basing my opinion on my own observations here on my own farm.

I've been meaning to research the ability to fly in the dark - but have never gotten around to it. Their ability to fly at night must have something to do other senses as well as eyesight. Not sure.


8 Years
Apr 9, 2011
East Tennessee
Im sorry you had a snooty reply to your post. I have had the same question as all of you....can they see at night? Im sure they can see shadows and movement but after watching mine, Id say their vision is greatly diminished once the sun goes down. They cant see treats I throw on the floor and if one bumps into another one, they jump and kinda let out a bark like, "Oh crap what was that!" Just my opinion from watching my own birds though.


In the Brooder
8 Years
Oct 18, 2011
Our geese live in our garden in "suburbia" so with no predators other than cats, they were allowed to roam around all night, which they did. Once their eyes are adjusted to darkness, and if they are in familiar territory they seem very happy to "patrol" - they grazed, swam on their pond, and the gander, Toot, would beat up stray objects like brooms and buckets that he came upon. Generally they were just as active at night as during the day. However, in unfamiliar territory (when on holiday with us) my husband would have to lead them to their "coop" by shining a torch down the backs of his legs so that they could see his legs and follow him along the path - this works very well for anyone trying to lead tame geese somewhere (at least it did for our pair) - far better than trying to herd them!! Toot's behaviour has changed now that we have sadly lost our female, and his mate/sibling, "Honk" - he spends most of the night lying on his "goose blanket" at our front door. My guess is that they see about as well as we do at night - they also failed to see treats in the dark, and for Honkie who was a complete glutton, that tells you a lot!!!

Shelly & Eric (South Africa)
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Miss Lydia

~Gift of God ~ Eternal Life ~John 3:16-17
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Oct 3, 2009
Mountains of Western N.C.
a couple weeks ago it was around 10:00pm I was laying in bed reading when I heard a flock of geese fly over our house, I see them mornings and evenings fly over, we live above a mt. river, but to hear them flying over at 10:00 pm was amazing. and there wasn't a full moon either.

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