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.
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?’
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.