Tuesday, June 18

Watching Geese Form a V

I peeked out the window when I fed my dog a few minutes ago and saw this:
The encroachment.
This year's gaggle of geese are bolder than before (at least at this time of year...). They've been creeping up into my yard closer to the house, despite my dog leaving her "scent" wherever she pleases.

I decided to go out on the porch to take some pictures. Instead, I got to watch these geese communicate in a way I never noticed before!

Shortly after I stepped out onto the porch (which is about ten feet above level ground), the geese began moving back towards the pond. They didn't like me standing on the porch. I think they associate my presence with my dog... barking at them.
Bird body language? I think so.
I noticed a few geese lifting their heads up at a severe angle--really nodding upwards--at all the other geese. I guessed that they were leaders and that they were saying something to the others.

This next photo is from a different day, but it's a better shot of what I saw the leader geese doing with their heads. Look at the fella on the left.
The goose on the far left is *clearly* calling the shots.
So the geese congregated, as geese are wont to do, and they hurried down towards the pond with their friends and family.
Grouping together near the other geese (and ducks).
I thought that was it. They'd be down by the pond for the night with all the other waterfowls and that was okay by me. But then something else happened...
Whoa! Suddenly all white bellies!
They did a complete about-face and were facing me. I was a little freaked out because I knew that my presence had sent them packing for the evening. Were they going to hiss at me? Fly at me? (Or was I really going too far by inserting myself into the equation?)
The Army couldn't have put together a better battalion.
As quickly as they had turned around they were forming a V. I knew that meant flying, and I was instantly impressed. I had just witnessed bird communication at its finest. These geese had first retreated and then decided to form up to fly! I don't know if you've ever seen geese run, but they can really move it. They weren't running in this case, but you could tell who the slow ones were.
Eat your heart out, Mighty Ducks.
Before I could snap another picture of them shaping up, they were airborne. I was kicking myself for leaving my camera zoomed in. (D'oh.) But you can see that they are in shape and ready to fly in that oh-so-familiar migratory V we see in the sky. Something like this:
Migrating? Probably not. But evolution persists.
Later this year I know I'll be able to count on the Goose Family Reunion, as I have in several past years. My yard usually looks like this:
At last count, there were a bajillion geese at the Goose
Family Reunion. And one white duck.


  1. Oh geese! There are a TON on the running routes around my house and they are ALWAYS in the way!

  2. I know--they are crazy! In some parts of the world they are considered pests and are relocated or baited for hunters. These guys are okay in my yard, but they are really weird to observe!

  3. What a cool thing to watch & see.


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