You have to see this to believe it. Buzz60’s Tony Spitz has the details.
LIFE IS HARSH for barnacle geese, which must contend with Arctic temperatures and protect their young from predators like foxes by nesting on high ledges and cliffs. But this strategy has a drawback: To start their lives, young geese must survive a harrowing fall—sometimes hundreds of feet.
As soon as 24 hours after hatching, goslings need to leave the nest to feed on grass, which their parents do not and cannot feed them.
To get to the grass—and the water, where they are more protected from predators—the birds must plummet from their high-altitude nests following their parents. Usually between three and five eggs are laid each year.
While it looks terrifying, the chicks are so lightweight that they do not usually die upon hitting the ground, says David Cabot, an adjunct professor at Ireland’s University of Cork.
“They are light and fluffy, often appearing to bounce off rocks as they fall,” says Cabot, who was the first to film this incredible phenomenon, in 1985. “Only a few die from being caught in rock cracks, gullies, or smacking into a sharp rock.”