Animal Moments

Six Geese on March 1


Today on my walk I went down Bishop St., which dead-ends at what was once a boat launch on Lake Saint Clair. Now there is a wall (up to about my shoulders) and a little "bay" between the protruding shoreline property of two waterfront houses.

It's a popular place for resting or feeding ducks and geese. Most of the time, when I approach the wall, however quietly, and peer over for birds, any that were there are swimming away to safety at my doubtless too noisy approach.

Today when I peered over the wall (shown in the photo), there were six Canada geese (Branta canadensis) floating quietly in a loose circle. When I looked, instead of paddling away the geese turned and regarded me, even bobbing a bit closer.

My cell phone rang and I answered it. The geese looked intrigued and then they started barking as though in response. After a few more moments, when I was off the phone and watching them, the geese started to move out of the little bay (see photo). As they turned and headed along the shoreline to my right, one bird was in the lead, four were in a tight line, and one outrider covered the left flank. (I didn't get a good photo of this.)

One of the geese was barking continuously as they all paddled away. I finally spotted the one in the rear vocalizing. I could distinctly see his throat working as he directed the others. The lead goose occasionally gave a murmuring croak in response, but none of the other geese made a peep.

I feel fortunate that I can look at both Canada geese and at Canada itself at the same moment by walking about a mile from my house.