Birding a Flock of Canada Geese
Canada Geese are a nuisance. They poop everywhere, they are far too common, they take down airplanes. Birders tend to ignore them, non-birders tend to loathe them, and few defend or admire them. That is really a shame.
It is not the fault of Canada Geese that they have become a trash bird. Blame human intervention in the form of breeding programs so that there would be more to hunt. The released birds had no urge to migrate and discovered that suburbia, with vast expanses of yummy grass and a plethora of ponds, lakes, and water hazards, was paradise for a Canada Goose. Their population grew and grew and grew and grew and now they are hated. (And, even worse than being hated, they often suffer being called Canadian Geese, which is just not fair to these non-Tim Horton’s-coffee-drinking creatures.)
It’s not my fault!
New York City has famously taken to catching and gassing Canada Geese so it is actually getting difficult to find decent-sized flocks of the birds in Brooklyn and Queens. That is why when I came across a flock of over 150 Canada Geese on a recent after work stop at Flushing Meadows Corona Park I took a bit of time to look at and photograph them. And, honestly, it was pretty fun, not only because of the intrinsic value in spending time watching and photographing birds but because the flock had some interesting things to see in it.
For example, two of the birds had neck collars.
Of course, I have reported both birds and when I hear where they came from I will share the information. But banded birds weren’t the only interesting aspect of this flock. There was also a Frankengoose!
I tried mightily to make it into a Canada Goose X Greater White-fronted Goose and it might be but I think it probably more likely that it is a Canada Goose X barnyard goose. Either way, it was neat to see and hypothesize about it.
The goose that stole the show, to me anyway, was a real survivor, a goose that if it were human would be lauded as a triumph of the human spirit but no one ever lauds triumphs of the goose spirit. This one-footed goose was hobbling along and seemed to be doing alright. I named it Stumpy.
Of course, a bit later in the year there will be even more reasons to look carefully through flocks of Canada Geese but that is no reason not to do it now!