Barnacle Geese (Branta Leucopsis) are quarrelsome geese that commonly bicker among themselves and chatter continually in grazing flocks, uttering rapidly repeated, shrill, sharp barks or yelps. The geese frequently fly about in large formless flocks that constantly rise and circle at great speed, only to drop down again to feed. Flocks react to predators overhead (and even low-flying aircraft) by rising in unison and swiftly twisting and turning. The essential maritime geese often forage in tidal flats or coastal marshes, when dense concentration may form. However, terrestrial grazing is preferred, and flocks move rapidly on short grassland pastures and crops, with birds at the rear of feeding groups regularly leapfrogging to the front. Barnacle Geese (Branta Leucopsis) nest in small, scattered or closely packed colonies, on inaccessible cliff ledges and buttresses, or atop an outcrop easily defended by ganders. Goslings hatching in high cliff nests must leap considerable distances, but their minuscule weight of only about 2.5 ounces and very dense down generally precludes serious injury as they bounce off rocks on the way down. Even so, injuries do occur and a small percentage are even killed. Early accounts erroneously implied that parents transported progeny down from cliff nests in the bill or on the back. Hundreds of yards of boulder-strewn slopes at the base of some cliffs must be negotiated before level terrain is reached, and many goslings perish when they drop between boulders and become trapped. Arctic foxes and large gulls have a field day when the geese hatch, easily capturing goslings as they strike the ground or are led to water by their parents. The small, offshore nesting islands in Svalbard are incapable of supporting growing young, and even before starting to eat, goslings may have to swim two or more miles to the mainland, where further journeys are necessary to reach feeding grounds. Families occasionally travel as far as 25 miles. Some brood merging occurs, although this is atypical where the geese are undisturbed. Molters and large young may congregate in compact offshore rafts.