September 21, 2011

So many geese, so little time

This shot shows quite a few geese. If you look deeply into the photo (sorry about the quality) you may spot an additional 30 or so in the water. (You can click on the photo to make it larger.) There were even more geese outside the frame when I took this shot -- about 25 on the left and another 30 or so on the right. We gotta lotta geese.

Longish geese post after the jump . . .

I've noticed over the years that in late summer or early fall, more geese arrive to join the main flock that lives and breeds here during the summer. I think the recent arrivals were born on this pond but have to breed elsewhere because of territorial constraints. Perhaps this reunion at the end of the summer is an extended family gathering. It feels like this is true.

These days, they're honking with each other all the time. There's a ton of social interaction going on out there. I think this is an important process for them, a getting-the-flock-in-order and letting-everyone-know-who's-in-charge kind of thing. It's also a way to learn who is fit and who isn't. There are quite a few fights among the males but Milo, the illustrious goose who leads the flock, always wins. And no one gets hurt in the process or holds a grudge. Geese are smart.

When I go out to see them, even when there are over 100 of them, my eyes go right to Milo. I can tell who he is by his demeanor. His walk, his interest in me and his silly facial expressions scream "Milo!" I love this bird. He seems to laugh as he walks toward me, though I know it seems odd to speak of a goose laughing. But he does! He is a marvelous bird, worthy of much praise (and poetry). Anyway, you wouldn't think you could pick one goose out of a flock like it was your Uncle Joe standing there, but that's just how easy it is to identify Milo.

I hate that the flock will leave soon. Too little time. I'll miss them.


cm said...

Milo sounds like a silly goose. Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Artichoke Annie said...

Takes one to know

p.s. Keith, does Milo return each year? If so how long has he been doing this?

writenow said...

I only met Milo this summer. He's probably always been here but the idea of interacting with geese didn't occur to me until this past spring. I'll know him next year, for sure. He'd better make it back after the migration -- or I'll send out the FBI to track down anyone who may have harmed him. I hear they're very good with geese.