Tag Archive: migration

There’s something fascinating about Canadian geese. Yeah, I know, I know. They can be a pain when they use parks and lawns as their bathroom away from home. Or when they aggressively block a sidewalk forcing you to make an embarrassing detour around them. They are not that big really, and they don’t weigh anywhere near the poundage that their solid girth would lead you to believe. On the other hand, they can wield that sharp beak like a seasoned Samurai.

It helps me to realize that it’s nothing personal. They just want me nowhere near their family — especially if there are  baby geese naively meandering about. Their commitment and protection of their little family touches me. There will be times I see a group crossing a busy street with an adult goose in front and an equally watchful adult bringing up the rear. They take their duties very seriously. At least one is always on guard making sure everything is okay while the other goose and the goslings rest or feed.

I’ve written before on this blog about the evocative sound of geese on the wing. When it is a flock overhead, the sound stirs me to travel, to see new places and experience new things. But sometimes when it is a lone goose, the sound of its voice worries me. Is it lost? Scared? The honking seems plaintive, a beseeching ‘where are you?’ flung out across an empty sky.

I know geese mate for life. In college I remember reading stories of geese who essentially sacrificed themselves to follow a wounded mate down out of the sky after it had been shot. Some even physically trying to keep their partners aloft for a little longer.

In the past week I have come across a number of geese who are clearly looking for nest sites. These pairs are usually on their own and house hunting with intensity. A pair I startled in a field, immediately highstepped towards the nearby river bank. One of them quickly launched out into the relative safety of the water, the other remained for a bit looking back at me. The goose in the water started honking in a loud somewhat fractious manner. I have no doubt she or he was giving their partner an earful. I walked away to give them some space and the goose who had stayed behind keeping an eye on me, making sure I was not a threat, slid quietly into the water to join its mate.

New Year Morning

Yesterday, the first day of 2012 dawned bright, clear and unusually warm. I really do prefer a little snow this time of year, if only to justify having a roaring fire at night to sit by. I was able to get out early for some photos. It was unexpectedly busy with lots of wildlife cruising around. Including this deer who looks like she is late for a meeting.

Then there is the rising dawn bathing a nearby hillside of trees with gorgeous golden light…

I heard geese honking and looking up saw one of the largest flocks on the wing I’ve seen in quite a while. They look like Snow Geese to me. The eastern light setting them aglow as they headed to a field or body of water somewhere.

Fascinating to watch how the flock ebbed and flowed, merging, splitting, but cohesive overall.

It was a great way to welcome in 2012, camera in hand, awestruck at the beauty around me and open to the possibilities of the coming year.

All the best of everything today and everyday…


It started snowing earlier than predicted yesterday. Whopping big flakes, any one of which looked capable of taking down a moose. The temperature plummeted and with perfect timing we went to switch on the heat and… no heat, nada. I feel guilty writing that as I know millions are still without power. We were very fortunate and  lost it only briefly. Plus we have a wood stove for heat. In advance of the storm, I wheelbarrowed up a few loads of last year’s wood from the barn and piled it (well, dumped it really) in the garage.

A shopping trip was postponed as the weather and roads worsened and we settled in for a peaceful snow day. With the fire finally lit, no mean feat without kindling, and a chicken stew simmering in the crock pot, it was an ideal day for reading, resting, a game of scrabble and good conversation.

This morning kitted out with parka, gloves and warm knitted hat, I ventured into the backyard. The dogs and I crunched through the glazed snow and slowly walked the fence line. This was not powder so spotting tracks was not easy — for me at least. The only definitive evidence I found of an overnight visitor to  the yard was a solitary set of deer tracks on a direct line from one side of the property to the other. Probably heading for the apple tree next door.

Overhead a line of geese was headed somewhere, the rising sun reflecting off their plumage. To my eyes they seemed a bit off kilter and out of sorts. I imagined a lot of bitching going on up there about whose great idea it was to put off heading south for an extra week or two.

The sound of geese on the wing, especially in the early days of migration when I have not heard it for a while, tugs at my urge to be on the move. I never thought I would end up so close to the town I grew up in. I’ve lived in different places throughout my life and spent most of my time with one foot out the door. I always felt like I was on my way somewhere else. Maybe it was not so much on my way somewhere else but rather on my way to be someone else.

I am peaceful here and there has been a lot of healing and growth. I feel safe, cared for, loved…yet when the geese call I feel a yearning…for what I am not sure.