Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thursday Birdblogging

Snow Geese Flurry.

Snow Geese

These are a favorite bird of mine, and seeing them fly overhead with the flickering effect of the dark-edged wing, is something I wish for everyone to experience at some time. When I lived in Chincoteague, a wonderful way to spend fall and winter afternoons was a walk on the refuge, around an inland pond, where the snow geese congregated. They would take off, flying in huge circles, honking and lighting up the air with their intricate flight. I recommend the same to you, if you want to lift a mood or find a sense of enjoyment.

Snow geese are known for their white plumage, but many of them are actually darker, gray-brown birds known as blue geese. These birds were once though to be two separate species, but they have recently been found to be merely two different color morphs of the same bird. A single gene controls the color difference.

Snow geese are harbingers of the changing seasons. They fly south for the winter in huge, honking flocks that may appear as a "U" formation or simply as a large "snowstorm" of white birds. They spend the colder seasons in southern coastal marshes, bays, wet grasslands, and fields. Their diet is entirely vegetarian, consisting of grasses and grains, grazed from damp soils or even shallow water.

At winter's end, snow geese fly north to their breeding grounds on the Arctic tundra. Pairs mate for life, and produce two to six eggs each year in a shallow ground nest. Chicks can swim and eat on their own within 24 hours.



Blogger Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

The flocks of sand-hill cranes wheel and veer over my casa near the river, which is their flightway. their cries fill the sky, but they're tricky to spot, cuz their undersides are pale and they don't stand out against that azure sky. their cries are unmistakable, but you look where the sound says they should be and there's nothing there, and then in a shimmer, the flock changes course and as the bank and swoop, they appear. it's quite spectacular, even at the distance, because they're at least 700-1000 feet in the air, and often at a remove of many hundreds of meters in lateral distance. i invariably stop to try to spot the flocks when i hear them, when i'm out walking a dog on the ditch. twice a year, late autumn and middle spring...

6:02 PM  

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