As the days get longer, love is in the air and this includes the world of geese. Suddenly the geese get very territorial both about potential mates and potential nesting locations. Fights can break out with very little warning. One of the geese in Juanita Bay was definitely in no mood for any competition. It was taking on anyone that happened to be in the way, whether they were a threat or not. Not just one at a time, either. A few other geese were in the area and they each got a dose of its attitude.
The flurry of activity when geese start sparring can often be intense but brief. In this case, the aggravation continued for quite a while. One goose would lunge at the others and they would settle again before he came at them once more. Much splashing of water, flapping of wings, honking and waving of tongues ensued. The goose that was chasing the others would be mouth open and tongue out as it charged at them. The tongue is a nasty looking thing on a goose. Lots of barbs on its surface.
After a few charges back and forth across the inlet, the others started to get the message. They took off and headed across the bay. The main goose was not satisfied yet, though. He took off after them and chased them well across the bay before deciding that the message had been received upon which he returned to the inlet to be ready for the next round of intruders.
I was riding along the Sammammish River Trail back in to Woodinville one weekend when the noise of geese suddenly filled the air. On the other side of the river from the trail are fields which often are filled with geese feeding. A large flock was gathered there on this day but their grazing had been interrupted by the arrival of a bald eagle. It flew across the area and barely changed course as it did so but it certainly startled the geese and they all took to the air.
They flew around in circles for a while waiting for the eagle to get safely out of the area. Then they gradually calmed down and more and more of them settled back in to the fields to resume eating. However, this was a slow process as they had clearly been spooked and weren’t going to relax easily. This was all starting as I cycled up but I did manage to pull my phone out and get a bit of video of this happening so here is the brief burst of excitement before things settled down again.
The visit of snow geese to the region is a regular feature of winter near Puget Sound. We went to Fir Island a couple of years ago to see the birds and I spent a free weekend day mooching around the area to see what I could see. I knew that there were plenty of geese around because, when I stopped off to photograph something else, there were endless flocks of them flying overhead. Sometimes they would be in tight formations and then others, they would seem to be a bit disorganized.
When on Fir Island, I came around a corner and realized that they had found a field of interest not far from the road. Pulling off to one side, they were a little further away than ideal but a long lens would help. As I focused on them, I saw a bunch of birds coming in to land in the background. I snapped away quickly as I didn’t want to miss this shot. I needn’t have worried. There didn’t seem to be any limit to the number of these geese as more just kept on coming.
It really is quite impressive to see so many of these geese in one place. They travel in huge groups – presumably for safety – and the local farmers are encouraged to plant crops that support their visits in winter. They must clean out a field at a time and then move on. Presumably they do some good work fertilizing the fields in the process.
I’ve been catching up on some video editing while stuck indoors. During the Christmas break, mum and I took a walk along the Sammamish River. There were lots of geese floating downstream and they were busy washing themselves. This involved a lot of flapping and inverting themselves in the river. Of course, when I got close, they stopped doing it while their buddies further downstream seemed to be busy washing. I did finally get some footage of it so here is a short video of geese! Bet that’s just what you wanted to see today!
Spring is the season for new life. The geese had obviously been taking the task to heart because, as we walked around Bloedel Reserve, there was a large gathering of goslings. It appeared to be that several families were mingling together. I guess strength comes in numbers. The adults were all grazing around the periphery of the group while the multitude of goslings were munching away in the middle.
When we were in Seattle a week later, we came across more goslings. A smaller group this time but the same thing with the adults keeping an eye on them. A couple were getting a bit more adventurous and heading off on their own but they were soon brought back into line. I wonder how many predators geese have. I guess hawks will be happy to take them out but the numbers might explain why there are so many geese wherever you go these days.
During a short break on a trip to Seattle, I was visiting a spot that has an aviation theme which should come as no surprise to anyone. While I was down at the south end of Lake Union, I was surrounded by geese. Since geese are unbelievably abundant these days, that is not so unusual. What I hadn’t counted on was that spring gets to Seattle a lot earlier than it does Chicago. As a result, one pair of geese already had a bunch of goslings in tow.
They looked pretty young and got a lot of attention from passers by. I am not immune to cute baby animals so grabbed a few shots of the family as they wandered around. It might not be quite kittens playing with balls of yarn but I guess I am getting close!