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Monday, April 15, 2013 at 6:42 am

With the waterfowl migration in full swing, courting season begins in earnest.

Considered the most colorful of waterfowl, the drake wood duck is resplendant in iridescent shades of blue, green and purple. His prominent crest is easy to spot in this photo taken by Claudia.  

The wood duck is noted for nesting in tree cavities. Their young will leave the nest soon after hatching, which will require plummeting up to 50 feet through the air to reach the ground or water.

A monogamous species, this probably isn't the first breeding season for this pair of Canada geese. 

Local wetlands are a favorite stopover for migrating geese. Many find the area just the place to start a family.

Here's a thought....just maybe, could swimming alongside one another be the equivalent of holding hands?

Here's another thought.....is this guy the odd man out???

Friday, December 28, 2012 at 8:09 am

Canada geese: natural barometers stay one step ahead of the weather

post by JIM NIGRO in Canada geese, nature, outdoors, wild turkeys

I never tire of watching and listening to Canada geese, whatever stage of flight they're in, whether passing overhead at treetop level or applying the brakes like the trio pictured above.

The weather services weren't the only ones who knew a storm was coming. Wednesday, only hours before the snow began to fall, large numbers of geese began descending onto this field of cut corn.

Like all wildlife, geese are great natural barometers, always aware of imminent weather changes.

The time period just prior to inclement weather often triggers a good deal of movement. The entire time I watched, the descent of geese never let up...flock after flock dropped out of the sky like gangbusters.

In a setting reminiscent of what was perhaps waterfowling's greatest tragedy of the 20th Century, this pic reminds me of a painting titled "The Winds of Hell," depicting a scene from the Armistice Day storm of 1940. On that day ducks and geese by the thousands were pouring into the backwater sloughs and marshes along a stretch of the Mississippi River...they were seeking shelter from a coming storm, a storm that would catch waterfowlers unprepared and cost many lives. 

Despite Wednesday's storm and present cold temps, I saw numerous flocks passing overhead, none of which were so high they would appear to be in migratory flight. Maybe they'll stick around...I have no doubt they know more about the long-range forecast than the rest of us.

Geese weren't the only feathered critters getting in a major feed prior to the storm...a dozen or more turkeys were feeding in the far end of the same field. 

Frozen ground and a bit of snow would not deter the turkeys from getting in one last feed before a thick blanket of white would make foraging all but impossible.

Friday, November 9, 2012 at 7:33 am

The descent of the Canada: honkers zeroing in on the feeding grounds

The classical look of Canada geese descending onto their feeding ground has inspired many a wildlife artist. While this is merely the last stage of their flight, in each of the previous phases their movement is filled with purpose.

Being in close proximity to the grain fields, this autumn we've witnessed a great deal of the geese coming and going, often hearing the faint telltale call of the Canadas before we spot them. Scanning the sky we locate them, sometimes so far off in the distance where they seems to be hardly more than an obscure smudge on the sky.

Wings firmly fixed in place, the initial stage of descent begins...

What appears to be a holding pattern is a steady drop in altitude...

Things appear okay on the ground, wings cupped, a slight turn and continue descent... 

By the looks of things, the coast is clear, no danger in sight.

Seconds from touchdown and a veritable feast in the cornfield.

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