Nature Notes: Weekend visitors

Nature Notes: Weekend visitors

It's been a real busy season wildlife-wise, and we're really glad to see summer finally turn the corner and have the big crowds and the "bumpa ta bumpa" traffic slow down just a bit. What a weekend it's been! Whew!

It's actually been nonstop action for quite a while, and a person would have to be pretty far gone not to have noticed the huge influx of visitors who have come to town this weekend.

One has only to look up to see and hear the most beautiful tourists ever gracing our shores, our skies, our parkways and our fields: the beautiful and majestic Canada geese! Because these geese are slowly leapfrogging their way down the coastal flyways and not in any real big hurry to beat the human version of snowbirds to the hot and sunny south lands, these geese just make short "hops" from one wetland to another. Very social and gregarious, they just kind of hang out here, fat from good feeding in the north and seeming very content to just poke about looking at this and that.

The sound coming from these visitors this past weekend was just tremendous. Bright and clear, they could be heard over great distances. There was no mistaking the sound, yep! Canada geese alright, no confusion there.

Because they're here just "window shopping," they haven't had to fly as high as they would if they were really serious about heading south. Their "puddle jumper" formations are loose and casual, but all that will change when they get the call to head south. Then they do it all perfectly.

Oh sure, there were other visitors here this past weekend, but their numbers were pale in comparison and nothing at all like these slick and graceful high rolling honkers we just love to see. Unlike some of the other visitors who have come here recently, the Canada geese required no ambulances, police or fire trucks to assist them, and our feathered guys left no mountains of trash behind.

The Canada geese deliver more smiles per mile than anything or anyone else, and all on just a few handfuls of greens and the occasional slug or snail. No air pollution, either, and once they're airborne, few people have much else to say except "Wow! Isn't that something! Boy, wouldn't it be nice to fly like that!" On and on ...

Our visitors to town are always welcome here, and they completely behave themselves every day. They go to sleep at dusk and never party loud or late. They don't drink and fly and they mate for life, each and every one, and they will rally around a sick or dying family member and stay by their side to the very end. Canada geese! They're the best. And the rest? Just tourists.

Craig Sparks is director of NAWA and an avid watcher of Canada geese. Found injured wildlife? Questions? Call NAWA at 665-3595 or e-mail at

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