Thursday Morning in Bird World

Living on the Canadian prairies, we know that spring is coming when the Canada Geese return from their winter migration. Indeed, Canada Geese are usually one of the first birds to arrive. You can hear them honking flying overhead in their large ‘V’ shape formations. They arrive in late March and stay with us until late October or November.

Like other bird species, Canada geese bond for life. They also return to the same nesting site year after year. That is the sad part. Our City is growing so fast that to see these beautiful creatures laying their eggs on dirt in the midst of broken up pieces of concrete on a building site is a tragedy.

It is spring and these geese have arrived at one of our nature centres, Fort Whyte.

You can easily tell a Canada Goose from other geese with its long black neck, its white chinny chin chin, its black legs, and light grey-brown underparts and wings.

I had gone to the park near me to put up signs not to feed the birds bread. A group of the geese came over to see what was on offer and, when they saw corn and peas, they grumped at me. These geese are so used to eating bread that they will shun the food that is good for them! That is sad. The bread makes its way into the water and decomposes creating horrible algae.

This guy was particularly offended by an offer of peas! Geese will hiss and if you get close to their nests or goslings they can bite really hard. Be forewarned!

In the fall, there are several places where you can go – including the Fort Whyte Nature Centre – to see them fly in and land on the pond. There are thousands of them. The sky fills up with the silhouettes against the orange and pink at dusk. It is beautiful.

Our nature centre had – until the pandemic – an annual Goose Flight Dinner. It was a charity event with a great meal and an opportunity to see the geese up close flying in. I had my phone. There are geese in the apricot background but they are too difficult to see. So close your eyes and imagine a black blur honking.

Have you been following the love geese? Their names are Arnold and Amelia.

On 13 July the staff at the Cape Wildlife Centre in Barnstable, Massachusetts noticed that one of the geese that lives on a pond behind their centre had a limp. The staff knew the wild bird and wanted to help. The goose was caught and it was determined that he had two open fractures in his leg. The staff explained that an open fracture means that the tissue and skin are pulled away from the bone. You can see this in the top right photo. Their best guess was that a snapping turtle had harmed Arnold. Arnold had surgery and while he was recovering, there was a tap tap at the door. It was Arnold’s mate, Amelia. Amelia waited for the surgery to be complete watching Arnold from the glass window.

@ Cape Wildlife Centre

The couple became instant celebrities. Who doesn’t need a warm fuzzy story these days?

Arnold is healing nicely. His bandages get changed and he is getting stronger. Amelia comes to visit him every day, looking in the glass door of the porch. The staff were so moved by the devotion of the geese to each other that they fixed up a pen so that Arnold and Amelia can share a meal. The good news is that Arnold will be moved to an outdoor pen once he has finished his medications. He will be returned to Amelia and the wild once his foot has completely healed.

Wow. That puts a smile on your face! Everyone loves a love story – especially if it is two birds – ‘love birds’ or is it ‘love geese?’

@ Cape Wildlife Centre

Some quick Osprey news. At the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest, Tiny Little slept like an adult on the perch. White YW (dad) brought in three fish so that everyone could have a nice meal during the day. That is fantastic.

After calls for emergency numbers, I received an e-mail from Katherine at the Patuxent Osprey Nest 2. They have now included the park e-mail at the top of the streaming cam. This is fantastic. There is no phone at the park that is operable 24/7.

I still recommend that everyone who watches particular nests make their own list of emergency numbers so that if you see something happening you can act quickly.

Here is a better look at that Patuxent Osprey nest as it sits in the water. Thanks ‘S’ for sending me the time stamp! Gosh, that is a really nice place for a nest.

When I checked the Foulshaw Moss nest last, no one was home! Tiny Little is out working those wings. That is fantastic.

Thank you for stopping in today to check on the birds. Everything appears to be fine on a Thursday morning in Bird World. The Osprey fledges are working their wings and getting stronger in the UK. There are still chicks to fledge there and in the US. No doubt there will be a flurry in the next couple of weeks. Take care everyone. Stay safe. I will be checking on Tiny Little throughout the day!

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grabbed my screen shots: Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest and the Patuxent Park Osprey Nest 2. Thank you to the Cape Wildlife Centre where I grabbed the images of Arnold and Amelia from their FB Page.


  1. Salliane says:

    Hi Mary
    We have the same problem with the invasive and native ducks here in Hawaii. People feed them bread and turn their nose to good stuff. People don’t realize what harm bread does to the chicks and adults.

    Right now it is 430pm(CST) at the Collins Marsh nest. I scrolled back and saw only one feed of a medium headless fish. That is it so far 🙁

    I did receive two emails from Stephen Easterly (DNR-WIsconsin) wildlife biologist..
    He checked the nest this morning and all seems normal.
    “I am regularly on this property and have seen both adults in the area of the nest usually one on the tower and the other out fishing. I’m looking at a live feed now and the remaining chick seems to be normal size and healthy for this time of year. In fact one of the adults just brought in a fish and is actively feeding.
    The first chick to not make it was a late hatch and was quite a bit smaller than the two that hatched first. This is very common in bird species, it just did not have the strength to compete with the two larger siblings when fish was brought in. We did have some heavy rains about the time the second young died, which could hve been a factor but we are not able to determine the exact cause of death. Unfortunately its not uncommon for the young to not make it to fledging for a wide variety of reasons such as weather, or other environmental factors.”

    I did a follow up email and this is his prompt response:
    “The tower was a retired fire watch tower from the upper peninsula of Michigan, hence the aircraft warning light. The friends group that works with the Wisconsin DNR owns the tower and operates the nature center associated with that parcel. They also operte and maintain the camera. Great place to visit if you ever find yourself in east central Wisconsin.”

    “There is access through the observation box on the tower”
    ***this is in regards to my question about acess to the nest in an emergency

    “This nest has been occupied for 15+ years. This pair is bonded and has been coming back for several years.”

    Hope this will be of good info for you…it was for me as this is the first year I have observed the nest.


    1. That is great information Salliane. Thank you so much for sharing it with me. I am going to put it in my notebook. I had not watched this nest either. You know it did look like an old fire tower and the height would certainly speak to that. I do worry about this little one, like you. It is very hot and sultry here but I did not check at the Collins Nest today but just did. It is 26 C with 71% humidity. I note that the birds in our garden are only now beginning to come out. I hope another fish lands on that nest. You will see in an earlier response to you that an ’emergency after hours number’ needs to be on the streaming cams. I suggested to Pateaux that it be the 24/7 Wildlife Rescue Line. Thanks again.

    2. I went and checked. Oh, I wish the nests that don’t have a time stamp did. I rolled back and saw the chick at Collins Marsh with a crop but when I first went on it was really food crying. Had its whole body moving wanting food. I wonder if they have past records of this nest. How many fledged what year. He says it is not uncommon for the little ones not to fledge. For some reason, this nest reminds me of Cowlitz which makes it a worry. I hope that this little one does thrive and fledge but I am also wondering about that time frame before migration. And I am sorry to hear that bread is a problem with the ducks and geese in Hawaii. There seems to be no easy fix. Parents love to give their kids bread to feed the ducks and geese! And signs saying not to don’t seem to work.

  2. Mail! says:

    Thanks Mary Ann for this morning newsletter!   We were in Mississippi all day today and haven’t been back home very long.  Thanks so much for the info on Canadian geese!  They fly over every season during migration. Usually it’s early in the morning snd I can hear them as they go over. Usually it is several the first time snd then followed by two or three behind them. I look forward to hearing and seeing them every year. I am so excited to hear the love story of Arnold and Amelia. It is such a loving story of a loving couple of geese. I’ll be so glad when Arnold’s leg heals so he and Amelia can be together again. In the meantime I’m so glad the wildlife center is giving Amelia the time to visit with her mate too.🙏❤️❤️What a great dad to bring each chick a fish at Tiny Little’s nest!  Tiny Little looks to be sleeping sound in the nest tonight!I’m so glad you received an email from Katherine about some emergency email for Pat 2 nest. I also had wrote her about a concern some of us had last evening for nest 1.  One of the chicks that had fledged was heard way off and wasn’t returning to the nest. The other 2 (one of which had returned from fledging) seemed to be on alert as was the mom osprey at times like they were talking back and forth and then we could hear people talking. I was wondering if they were rescuers.  But because it was going to be dark soon there I didn’t know if she knew a person who we could contact or if she was the one to contact.   She said there is a Naval base close by which we had heard from another person on chat. Maybe the chick that fledged was just staying off nest. That she hadn’t heard of anything wrong there.  I really appreciated her answering me back.  I know that ever who they were scared the ospreys and the mom who was on the perch flew. One of the Osprey chicks was always watching something in the sky. I just check and one of them was eating. Two were on the nest. I hope the one that isn’t there that was chirping back and forth last evening is ok. I like the photo sent in from S of the Pat 2 nest.  It really is in a good location!  I worry about the sticks on the edge of the nest but they are about ready to fledge so hopefully none will fall over in the water. 🙏 Thanks Mary Ann for these photos and info!  Your the greatest!  Have a great evening ! Linda

    Sent from AT&T Yahoo Mail for iPad

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