Thursday, August 24, 2006

Canada Geese

We sighted the first large Fall flock of Canada Geese this morning. About 20 silent birds flew low directly over the river, in a ragged lopsided V. This is early for this.

Several pairs raised their young on the Clackamas behind our house. The numbers in each clutch were large but constantly diminishing. These birds mate for life. The growth rate of the little ones is astonishing - they reach near adult size in as little as 40 days.
They flock and float together most of the year in large groups, but at nesting time the pairs find isolated nesting sites away from other geese. This is just the opposite of the habits of the Great Blue Heron.

On of the most interesting places to observe these sizable birds is at Chatauqua Park in Boulder, Colorado. A large number of Canada Geese rest overnight on the sloping mown grass park site. They are quite used to people and you can get fairly close to them. Early in the morning they fly to open water elsewhere. The birds take off one or a few at a time and just be careful to duck!

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