Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Wing-tip Kiss of Newly Bonded Canada Geese?

It began commonly. It began with an event which I've seen many times, often daily during this season, which had never produced anything that I'd not seen many times over--the arrival of a large flock of Canada Geese to forage in a newly harvested grain field.

I watched which field they were circling toward and when I happened to be over that way for a few minutes, there they all were-- eating, taking turns playing sentinels, and all the common things that Geese do in this situation.

I then went off to look for turkeys or maybe cranes. Finding neither, and loosing the light rapidly, I started taking photographs of people working on their machines which took me back toward the south field where the flock had originally lighted.

And what should I find? No flock at all. Just two geese who for whatever reason seem to have stayed behind and not immediately gone with the group. Two geese, who are mimicking in an odd way, the behavior of Spring. The goose is sitting in a somewhat hidden spot while the gander stands tall looking for possible interlopers, raiding raccoons, stupid humans, and all the other things that put eggs in jeopardy. But it is nearly September therefore I can't imagine there being eggs for the goose to sit on. Though in nature one does learn to never say never.and to watch and wait for a possible explanation, one being, though still on the bottom of my list, that there really are eggs over there.

I watched for a few minutes. They watched me and not wanting to disturb them, I walked off to try to get some shots of the setting sun glinting off some steam engines.

If Goose is sitting tight after true dark I'll have to rethink the egg theory positioning on my imaginary list.

Whoosh, suddenly they took to the air with synchronized wing beats and began to fly my way.

The front goose begins to honk and the trailing goose rises and flaps faster.

And then it happened--the lower goose had her wings on the up beat, and the higher goose on the downbeat. The tips of their wings touched, they broke flap stride, took a beat with wing tips just meeting, in a light as a feather, (sorry) moment of unusual glide. Then they separated and flapped off to where ever they were going.
Is this some sort of goose bonding behavior for young unbonded birds in the Fall? An accidental aberration of some kind?
Has anyone out there ever seen it happen?

Donegal Browne

1 comment:

NY Bill said...

Right place at the right time... An award winning picture.